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Inez Wilson

Pinconning locals all know the story: Dan Horn created the smooth, delicious colby that put our little town on the map. This is true, although Pinconning cheese would not be where it is today if not for Horn’s daughter, Inez. Born in 1908, Inez was the eldest of the six Horn children. Her father, a Wisconsin native, had a vast knowledge of cheesemaking. On a quest to own his own factory, Mr. Horn was drawn to Michigan by the Pinconning Creamery. The family moved to Pinconning, Michigan in 1915 and  ‘Pinconning Cheese’ was born.

In 1939, the now-married Inez Wilson opened her own retail store, Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe, to sell her father’s cheese – right across the street from his factory. Today, Wilson’s is Michigan’s oldest cheese store. By the 1960s, Inez’s marketing effort was driving approximately 100,000 people a year up the coast of US-23 to grab some delicious cheese and check out the giant mouse on top of her store. She was the force behind making the city of Pinconning the official ‘Cheese Capital of Michigan’; Wilson’s has been a tourist destination for generations of Michigan travelers.

Despite her industrious nature, Inez Wilson had a passion for her local store and settled comfortably in Pinconning with her husband and daughter. She passed away in 1988 but her impact on the City of Pinconning lives on; Pinconning is still known as the ‘Cheese Capital of Michigan’.

Throughout the years  Wilson’s has added delicious homemade fudge, sandwich sauces, specialty mustards, homemade jams, and more. The store is known as much for their friendly staff as for their gourmet treats.

Inez opened Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe in 1939. 80 years later, the store remains in the same location, still serving Dan Horn’s original Pinconning Cheese recipe. To this day, those taking the scenic route up Michigan’s Sunrise Side enjoy dad’s original cheese recipe and stop to take pictures of The Mouse, lovingly known as Inez.

Pinconning Cheese – The Next Generation

“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!

 

Arthur Summerfield from Pinconning, Michigan

Arthur Summerfield

Did you know that the 57th United States Postmaster General was from Pinconning, Michigan? Arthur Summerfield was born right here in Michigan’s cheese capital on March 17th, 1889. Innovative and industrious from a young age, Summerfield left home at age 13 to work in a factory. By 1918, he was a Chief Inspector for the Chevrolet Ammunitions Department during WWI. After the war, Arthur invested in real estate and held distinguished positions for several companies, including Weston-Mott, Buick, Pure Oil, and Bryant Properties Corp. In 1929, Summerfield opened his own Chevrolet dealership, which became one of the largest in the Midwest.

 

During World War II, Summerfield began his career in politics; he was elected to the Republican National Committee in 1944 and served through 1952. Following President Eisenhower’s nomination in 1952, Arthur was named Chairman of the Republican National Committee. His position as Postmaster General was also served under President Eisenhower, from 1952-1961.

 

Summerfield conquered great challenges as Postmaster General. After World War II, the United States experienced massive growth in the mailing system, as long distance relationships between families were on the rise. Steered by this exponential increase in mail, Summerfield completely reorganized the Department. Under his leadership, the Post Office began integrating business techniques to improve service and speed; modernizing equipment, operations, and transportation. He also faced the challenge of persuading Congress to support the department financially while reconstructing the accounting system.  

 

Summerfield was successful in these endeavors; his work built the foundation for every Postmaster General following him. After 1961, Summerfield returned to work for his automobile dealership. Like many Michigan snowbirds, he enjoyed his later life in West Palm Beach, Florida where he passed in 1972.  Arthur Summerfield ~ One of the Pinconning natives who make us proud!

Escamilla Bats 2

Escamilla Bats

Escamilla Bats

A native of Pinconning, Michigan, Bob Escamilla has always had a passion for baseball and woodworking.  When he decided to put those passions together, Escamilla Bats was born.  Bob officially opened his woodworking shop in September of 2009 and has had a successful business selling bats ever since. From the high-quality wood to the exacting specifications, each Escamilla Bat is crafted with artisan’s precision. These beautiful bats are cut with precision and sanded by hand, making each one a labor of love.

Escamilla Bats are available in a variety of sizes and types, including youth and adult sizes, vintage style, softball, and trophy bats.  All the bats are made of high-quality materials such as maple, ash, and hickory.  They also sell baseball gloves that are handmade for Escamilla Bats.  If you are interested in finding out more about Escamilla Bats or viewing tons of models, you can catch up with them on their facebook page Escamilla Bats. You can also send Bob an email at escamillabats2@hotmail.com, or give him a call at 989-233-5497. Bob Escamilla ~ One of the Pinconning Personalities that make us proud!