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Vintage-looking signs point to MTSU Creamery’s ong...

Vintage-looking signs point to MTSU Creamery’s ongoing growth

The signs are popping up all around Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, and even a few spots beyond.

You can find the signs at Hattie Jane’s Creamery, City Café, Pearcy’s General Merchandise and Lascassas Feed in Lascassas, Tennessee, and other business locations in Rutherford, Cannon and Wilson counties where MTSU dairy products are sold.

MTSU Creamery Manager Steve Dixon, left, presented a tin sign promoting MTSU milk to Jacob Hendley, ice cream ambassador and coffee barista at Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro, one of 15 area businesses buying milk from the university. The signs are helping to promote MTSU milk as a 100 percent-certified Tennessee Milk product. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Creamery Manager Steve Dixon, left, presents a tin sign promoting MTSU milk to Jacob Hendley, ice cream ambassador and coffee barista at Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro, one of 15 area businesses buying milk from the university. The signs are helping to promote MTSU milk as a 100 percent-certified Tennessee Milk product. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The MTSU Creamery has nearly doubled production at its small processing plant on campus and continues to market its milk utilizing a throwback from the past: tin signs.

The 11-by-17-inch, old-fashioned-looking signs’ message — “We Proudly Sell MTSU Milk” —  are a vehicle “to increase visibility of our product,” said Matthew Wade, director of the MTSU Experiential Learning and Research Center, aka the MTSU Farm and Dairy, in Lascassas.

“It’s a throwback and a fun sign,” Wade said. “It takes us back to when milk was in old glass bottles and that vintage era. … Ours is a locally-sourced product and these signs display that.”

The signs have been out for more than one month and, like the first 1,000 pints bottled, have become somewhat of a collector’s item.

Jacob Hendley, ice cream ambassador and coffee barista at Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro, placed a tin MTSU milk sign inside the local establishment, promoting the locally produced product. The marketing of the sign is helping increase awareness of MTSU’s Creamery, milk, and participation in the Tennessee Milk program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Jacob Hendley, ice cream ambassador and coffee barista at Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro, places a tin MTSU milk sign inside the business to promote the locally produced product. The marketing of the sign is helping increase awareness of MTSU’s Creamery, milk and participation in the Tennessee Milk program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

“We wanted to get them to the vendors and some sponsors first,” Wade said. “People can relate to them — the look, feel and design. We are already getting calls from people who have seen the signs and want to buy them.”

Tennessee Milk logoThis interest might lead to an online store, he added.

Wade and Dr. Jessica Carter, director of the School of Agriculture, used part of a statewide grant from the Dairy Alliance through the Tennessee Dairy Producers Association to purchase 200 signs to  promote both the MTSU Creamery and the Tennessee Milk Program.

“We’re thanking the Dairy Alliance and Tennessee Dairy Producers Association for giving us this grant and we’re getting the word out about what we’re doing at the processing plant and our participation with ‘Tennessee Milk,’” Wade said.

“What are we doing in the plant? We’re teaching, promoting and leading by example.”

Wade and Carter help promote www.drinktnmilk.com. The Tennessee Milk logo on bottles means the milk is “certified 100 percent that it’s produced in Tennessee, helping a Tennessee dairy farmer directly,” Wade said.

An 11 x 17-inch tin sign in Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro helps promote the MTSU Creamery and MTSU milk, which is a Tennessee Milk 100 percent locally produced product. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

An 11 x 17-inch tin sign in Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro helps promote the MTSU Creamery and MTSU milk, which is a 100 percent locally produced product that can carry the “Tennessee Milk” brand. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Additional grant funds were used to place billboards in Nashville for 30 days and for an advertorial in “Edible Nashville” magazine.

“I love the sign. It’s so cute,” said Rhonda Schmitz, part-owner and COO of Hattie Jane’s Creamery on the Square in downtown Murfreesboro, adding that they like to tell everyone they use MTSU milk.

“The fact that the Tennessee Milk logo is on the sign shows that it is Tennessee made and with that, there’s no confusion where the milk comes from.”

The MTSU Creamery, which is managed by Steve Dixon and includes student workers in its entire process, will be featured in an upcoming issue of “Tennessee Ag Insider” along with several other creameries discussing small-scale processing, Wade said.

For more information, call 615-898-2523. The School of Agriculture is one of 11 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

—Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU junior agriculture major Brendon Puckett made a delivery of chocolate and white milk to Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro. The marketing of a tin sign is helping increase awareness of the product and participation in the Tennessee Milk program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU junior agriculture major Brendon Puckett makes a delivery of chocolate and white milk to Hattie Jane’s Creamery in downtown Murfreesboro. Using a new tin sign for markeeting is helping increase awareness of the university’s product and participation in the Tennessee Milk program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU junior agriculture major Brendon Puckett delivered MTSU Creamery milk to Pearcy’s General Merchandise in Lascassas, Tenn., on stop earlier this fall. Pearcy’s is one of 15 businesses in three counties carrying MTSU milk products. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU junior agriculture major Brendon Puckett delivers MTSU Creamery milk to Pearcy’s General Merchandise in Lascassas, Tenn., on a stop earlier this fall. Pearcy’s is one of 15 businesses in three counties carrying MTSU milk products. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)


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