Door County Business Success Stories

There are many places where your business can prosper. There are some places where you can find a lifestyle of exceptional quality. There are very few places, like Door County, that can offer you both.

The Door County Peninsula is home to a distinctive and successful community of business leaders and entrepreneurs. They have discovered that Door County is much more than a wonderful place to vacation. It’s also a beautiful place to live and an excellent environment for business.

They set their goal at having it all. In Door County, they found that they could.

(More Door County business success stories can be found on our Media & Videos page)


Chris & Ann Renard

Renard’s Cheese & Deli, LLC

Renard’s Cheese is a family owned and operated business that is now on its third generation of cheesemakers. Over the past 51 years, Renard’s Cheese has become an iconic Door County business, and is on a trajectory to successfully build upon that status for many years to come. Though many things have changed throughout the years, their commitment to producing quality, gourmet, and handcrafted cheeses has never wavered.

This precise art has awarded Renard’s not only a reputation of great standards but also the ribbons to match. Their award winning Two-Year Aged White Cheddar is one of their best selling cheeses. Over the past several years, they have expanded their product line to include flavor infused cheeses such as; Morel & Leek Jack, Cranberry Jalapeno Monterey Jack, and over 50 other specialty cheeses. One of their newest creations is the Door County Untouchable Cheddar, where they soak their Two-Year White Cheddar in Simon Creek Winery’s Untouchable Red Wine for three days.

Today, Ann and Chris Renard are still focused on a proactive approach to running Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli, which has been evident in the expansion of their product offerings, their increased national distribution, new sales routes throughout the state and the new retail location that was built this past year. The addition of their 1900 square foot retail store has allowed them to increase their cheese offerings and bring in more local products, as well as add a new deli for their customers to enjoy.

Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli of Sturgeon Bay has been averaging 40% growth over the past couple years, which has allowed for many new and exciting additions to the company. In 2010, Renard’s Cheese had six employees; today they have 29 year-round employees. Ten of these employees were added in fall 2012 to accommodate the expansion of the new facility as well as production needs. In the months following the grand opening of the new retail store their business increased a remarkable 70%.


Mike Keyser

Key Industrial Plastics

Key Industrial Plastics, Inc. is a vacuum forming and plastic fabricating company with design, prototyping and value added services. Equipment includes three modern vacuum forming machines – two sheet fed and one roll fed – as well as four CNC routers. Items produced range from industrial wear pads to candle packaging to food service trays. Although they currently manufacture for other companies, Key Industrial Plastics hopes to begin the introduction of their own products by the spring of 2007.

The company started as Key Industrial Prototype Services in August 1998 and was run out of owner Mike Keyser’s garage until they picked up their first steady customer.  In March 1999, they leased a 500 square foot industrial space in the Door County Business Development Center business incubator. Within a few months, they outgrew the 500 square foot room and moved into a larger 1,000 square foot space. By April of 2001 the company had grown to fill a 2,000 square foot area. Growth continued and in October of 2002, Keyser relocated his company to a custom build 6,400 square foot facility in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park. Designed with future growth in mind, the current location has the capability of adding an additional 6,000 square feet. The company is exploring possible additions to their production capabilities, including injection molding and foaming operations.


Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard

Popelka Glass Studios

Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard began Popelka Glass Studios in the Door County Business Development Center business incubator facility in 1997. The studio produces award-winning functional and decorative glass artworks in Sturgeon Bay that are carried in galleries around the country, including a line of blown work which utilizes a wide variety of techniques, from optical molds from the Roman Empire to mosaic applications from Murrano. The couple also creates custom and commission work for collectors worldwide, collaborating with architects, designers and homeowners to create specialized glass light fixtures, centerpieces, drawer handles and other household pieces. In January 2003, they relocated into a studio and gallery space in the downtown shopping district of Sturgeon Bay. Door County Economic Development Corporation assisted in financing their start-up and expansion costs through funding from the Revolving Loan Funds administered by DCEDC.

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