“The family that ‘wheys’ together…”
2018 marks the 70th year of operation for Pinconning Cheese Company! This Pinconning hot spot was established in 1946 by Marie (née Horn) and Harry Bennett and named “Bennett Cheese Store.” Marie Bennett was the daughter of Pinconning Cheese creator and local legend Dan Horn. In fact, the Bennetts bought an existing building next door to her father’s factory, which they remodeled and expanded before its formal opening in 1948. The Bennetts sold the store to another husband and wife team, Evelyn and Alex McCourt Jr. in 1953. The newly named “Pinconning Cheese Store” was known simply as “McCourt’s” to many local folks.
But…the real “McCourt’s Cheese Store” was down the street. Proving that cheese has always been a family affair in these parts, Alex McCourt Sr. had opened his own cheese store back in 1936! Alex Jr.’s brother, Lyle, continued operating McCourt’s Cheese Store until the early 1980s, when he sold to Richard and Rose Mastroianni from Warren, Michigan. By this time, the Mastroianni family already owned the Pinconning Cheese Store, which Alex and Evelyn McCourt had sold to them upon their happy retirement in 1971. This consolidation took the store to new heights; more space meant more delicious choices. Besides the already famous Pinconning cheese, the Mastroiannis added homemade sandwiches, pizzas, and the “World Famous Pizzaloaves” for take-out.
Now, 70 years later, the family-owned tradition continues. In 1987, lifetime Pinconning residents Brian and Debby Saha purchased the Pinconning Cheese Store and transformed it to the Pinconning Cheese Co. and Fudge Shoppe. The creamy, decadent fudge is divine! The Sahas also expanded their custom cheese spreads selection and added Michigan-made jerky, freshwater fish, and a variety of unusual (and tasty) pickled treats. Don’t miss the “Wall of Fire,” featuring over 150 unique specialty sauces and condiments – some rather hot, as you can imagine!
Despite the product expansions in the past 70 years, the Sahas are proud of and dedicated to serving Dan Horn’s original 1915 Pinconning Cheese recipe. Real Pinconning cheese is still made from the milk of grass-fed cows, and is gluten and r-GHB antibiotic-free. Just passing through? This delicious Colby-style cheese and the rest of their specialty products are also available online for the rest of the world to enjoy! If you have yet to experience the phenomenon known as “Pinconning Cheese,” head to pinconningcheese.com and pick the perfect cheese for you!