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Profitt Report: Secrets to Success, Wilson's Cheese Shoppe in Pinconning

Wilson's Cheese Shoppe in Pinconning, Mich. first opened their doors in 1939. Photo credit: Andrew Fergerson

It goes well on burgers, pizza, pasta and French fries. Cheese is a favorite food for many and one city can claim the title Cheese Capital of Michigan: Pinconning.

Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe has been around since 1939. Ryan Kleinhans is the general manager and explained, Inez Wilson was the founder of Wilson’s.

“Her dad was Dan Horn who actually crated Pinconning cheese,” said Kleinhans.

The shop changed hands a few times over the years and today Kleinhans, his wife and in-laws run the place.

Being a Pinconning-native, he started with a leg up on cheese know-how.

“It’s part of growing up here. I’ve always liked cheese, who doesn't like cheese? I had to earn my way, earn your keep a little bit,” Kleinhans said.

Part of that learning is what goes into this cheese. Pinconning cheese is a unique style of Colby.

“Early 1900s there were a lot of dairy farms around here,” he said, “it doesn’t need to be refrigerated as much as your standard cheese.”

Due to lack of refrigeration, the cheese was aged in higher-than normal temperatures, giving Pinconning cheese a unique flavor.

“Cheese is fun because when it's new, people really like it, ours is a mild squeaky cheese,” Kleinhans said.

Yes, he said squeaky cheese!

“Squeaky cheese is a mild Pinconning cheese, when it comes right off the line it actually squeaks in your teeth,” Kleinhans said.

However, one of their fan favorites is far from mild. They sell cheese that is well over a decade old, which is a super sharp cheese.

“Some people get it and you'll hear them go ‘mmmm!’ and it's one of two ways. It’s ‘mmmm, that's not good,’ or ‘ohh that's the best thing I’ve ever had!’” Kleinhans said.

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