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.