SCHUYLERVILLE — King Brothers Dairy is in the midst of expanding its retail store from 300 to 3,000 square feet, in an effort to enhance the customer experience.
The new space is being built in front of the creamery at the Kings Road farm, which will give guests the opportunity to view the milk bottling process through a glass window.
"It's very important for people to learn about where their food comes from, so this will allow us to showcase what we do," co-owner Jan King said. "It will show the connection from start to finish of how dairy products are made."
King Brothers Dairy debuted its homemade ice cream this summer, and the new retail space will also feature an ice cream parlor.
"We wanted to give customers a chance to buy cones and shakes," King said. "We set ourselves apart by making the entire ice cream from start to finish. We use our own milk and cream and make our own chocolate and vanilla ice cream mix."
The new retail space means King Brothers Dairy will be adding jobs.
King said the company adds three to four full-time positions per year, due to increased sales and deliveries.
"Over the next year, the retail space would likely add two or three full-time jobs and many part-time positions," he said.
Marty Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, said King Brothers Dairy's retail expansion is promising for the company.
"As a business grows and demand increases, a good business that has the cash, capacity and employees will want to increase revenues by expanding," he said. "It's a good sign for King Dairy."
King and his brother, Jeff, also own the 118-year-old Kings Ransom Farm, which bottled its own milk until the 1960s.
"Growing up, it was neat to see the embossed glass milk bottles and thought: Wouldn't it be neat to bottle again someday?" King said.
So, in 2010, the brothers launched King Brothers Dairy and started bottling milk again. The company has since grown from 40 customers to more than 400 home deliveries.
"What's driven us and the business is the tremendous employees and selling the highest quality milk possible," King said. "Time and time again, we have consumers say, 'You have the best milk I've ever tasted.'"
The dairy industry, King said, constantly faces challenges, such as finding qualified employees and competition, including non-dairy options.
"Dairy farmers are like any other business, and with the unemployment rate being so low, there are only so many available workers," he said. "Plus, there are new products on the market all the time, so you have to be creative.
"The dairy industry needs to continue to be creative and innovative."
King said many dairy companies are consolidating and using more attractive packaging to stay competitive.
"We started making ice cream and buttermilk, and we'll look at adding other products in the future," he said.
For now, King is getting ready for the debut of the new retail space, which is expected to open in the fall.
"As a business owner, you always have an idea of what you want to do in the future," he said. "But without people enjoying our product, we wouldn't be able to do this."