It is something to think about the next time you bite into a Dunkin' Donut, the flour came from one of the oldest businesses in Monroe County. The Star of the West Milling Company of Churchville is the only remaining flour mill in the area producing pastry and cake flours.
"This was the milling capital of the United States in Rochester New York," says manager Francois Lachance.
Star of the West Milling Company sits right in the middle of the village of Churchville. The building is almost a hundred years old and back in 1914, the mill produced 10,000 pounds of flour a day. Today, that same facility turns out 500,000 pounds a day. The company says that is because wheat continues to grow in Western New York and it has maintained some big name customers.
Lachance says, "We've grown quite a bit. We make a half a million pounds of flour every single day. We're running six to seven days a week. Right now we're running six and a half days a week, three shifts a day. Business is very good."
He also says the mill has added equipment to help clean the wheat and make a better product. They do all this with a staff of 20.
"We have people here all the time, because if we're not running, which is right now maybe ten hours a week we're not running, we're doing maintenance on the equipment,” says Lachance. "Just follow me."
Right now, 75 percent of the product is bulk, the other 25-percent is bagged. Lachance says those bags are taking up some space.
"Our goal here in the next five years is to build a new warehouse, or a warehouse, and put the bagging operation in that warehouse,” says Lachance. "We have a very small warehouse.”
Area Congresswoman Kathy Hochul recently toured the Star of the West Milling Company to check out the product and learn more about the mill.
"They've got a booming business right here, supplying flour all over the country. So it's one of those gems that's in the heart of my district," says Hochul.
The mill has become a landmark in Churchville, and the company prides itself with mixing well with other businesses and people in the community.
Lachance says, "We don't waste anything. We don't pollute anything. We don't dump anything in the water. We don't spew anything into the air. We don't bury anything into the ground. We don't spill anything into the ground. It's very environmentally friendly."
"It's a great industry, it really is," say Lachance.
Star of the West Milling Company