It is a big call but Barry Lillywhite has made it – he predicts Coolamon Cheese could be bigger than Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory.
He stumbled upon a survey that said cheese has overtaken chocolate as Australia’s favourite comfort food.
And the opening figures are already indicating it could be a hot spot on the Riverina tourism map.
Coolamon Cheese director and cheese maker, Mr Lillywhite, said he was very pleased with the opening weekend numbers.
People were lining up at 9.30am on Saturday morning eagerly anticipating doors opening at 10am.
There were more than 100 people in the factory at any one time and about 600 people on Saturday alone.
“I’m really please at the numbers that have come out,” Mr Lillywhite said.
“Yesterday (Saturday) was a buzz for us.
“And at one stage this morning, I didn’t know one person in the room so they were all visitors.”
Coolamon residents embraced the opening of the factory, which saw the long-awaited conversion of one of the town’s most iconic buildings.
Visitors also came from Wagga, Adelaide, Cootamundra. West Wyalong and Canberra.
The factory sold out of its two blue cheeses on opening day and more had to be cut on Saturday night for Sunday’s trade.
“People are coming out and buying one of everything … just so they can try it,” Mr Lillywhite said.
Local ingredients, including olive oil, milk and flavouring, features in all products sold at Coolamon Cheese.
The outdoor area will be landscaped soon to include a garden full of edible plants that will be used to flavour the cheeses.
Tourism development officer at Coolamon Shire Council, Lisa Cameron, said Coolamon Cheese will work with Temora Aviation Museum and Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory as part of the pending canola trail.
The trail will be launched in the coming months as a triangle of towns offering unique experiences.
“Coolamon Shire, without a major tourist attraction, has heavily relied on event development to attract tourism,” Miss Cameron said.
“The cheese factory is an exciting new development which will enable us to develop other experiences, such as the canola trail.”