Recognizing the big cheese

Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center one stop for state officials on Wisconsin Cheese Day tour of state
by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff


CELEBRATING WISCONSIN CHEESE DAY at the Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center Monday, including this presentation of a certificate of appreciation from Gov. Scott Walker, were (left to right) Kerry Henning, first vice-president of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association; Jim Sartori of Sartori Cheese; State Rep. Tyler Vorpagel, R-Plymouth; Keith Ripp, assistant deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Redevelopment Authority Chair Lee Gentine; Jeff Genine of Masters Gallery; State Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg; Louie Gentine of Sargento; Mayor Donald Pohlman; Neal Moegenburg of Great Lakes Cheese; and Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary Mark Hogan. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner CELEBRATING WISCONSIN CHEESE DAY at the Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center Monday, including this presentation of a certificate of appreciation from Gov. Scott Walker, were (left to right) Kerry Henning, first vice-president of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association; Jim Sartori of Sartori Cheese; State Rep. Tyler Vorpagel, R-Plymouth; Keith Ripp, assistant deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Redevelopment Authority Chair Lee Gentine; Jeff Genine of Masters Gallery; State Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg; Louie Gentine of Sargento; Mayor Donald Pohlman; Neal Moegenburg of Great Lakes Cheese; and Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary Mark Hogan. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner PLYMOUTH – What better place is there to celebrate Wisconsin Cheese Day than the Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center in the Cheese Capital of the World?


JEFF GENTINE, PRESIDENT and CEO of Masters Gallery Foods, tries out one of the original phone booths used by cheese brokers on the original Plymouth Cheese Exchange. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner JEFF GENTINE, PRESIDENT and CEO of Masters Gallery Foods, tries out one of the original phone booths used by cheese brokers on the original Plymouth Cheese Exchange. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner Downtown’s commemoration of the industry that built Plymouth was one of 13 hosts across the state Monday for the second annual event featuring state and cheese industry officials that is part of the June Dairy Month celebration.

Secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Mark Hogan and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Assistant Deputy Secretary Keith Ripp were joined by representatives of Plymouth’s four cheese companies and local legislators for the program.

“There’s no better place to be but right here in Plymouth to celebrate this,” Hogan said of the Cheese Day event.

Lee Gentine, chairman of the city’s Redevelopment Authority, related why the store/restaurant/ museum was created in the restored historic building.

“We created this space because nobody was telling the story of what was going on and what went on in Plymouth,” with the cheese industry, Gentine explained.

“We’re proud to have supported this,” Hogan said. He pointed out that WEDC provided several pieces of the funding for the public-private partnership that financed the restoration of the historic building and the creation of the center it houses.

“This is a nice chance for us to tell our story and hopefully educate people to what we do,” Masters Gallery President and CEO Jeff Gentine stated.

Lee Gentine noted that 15 percent of the cheese consumed in the country passes through Plymouth “in some way, shape or form.”

The center celebrates that and Plymouth’s place as Cheese Capital of the World – a slogan which the city has officially registered, he added.

“We are the Cheese Capital of the World and we use that a lot with our customers,” Sargento CEO Louie Gentine acknowledged.

Sartori CEO Jim Sartori related the tale of how it was discovered that Plymouth’s slogan had been ‘stolen’ by a cheese company elsewhere in the state, only to be officially reclaimed by Plymouth.

State Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, had praise for all four of the cheese companies represented – Great Lakes Cheese, Masters Gallery, Sargento and Sartori.

“I’d like to thank all the business owners for all you do and give back to the community,” as well as staying and expanding in Plymouth and Sheboygan County, LeMahieu said.

He and Rep. Tyler Vorpagel, R-Plymouth, presented a proclamation from Gov. Scott Walker honoring the local cheese companies and the Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center.


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