Our Story

Michigan’s oldest cheese shoppe, located in Pinconning Michigan.

Established in 1939


In 1939, Inez Wilson, daughter of Pinconning Cheese creator Dan Horn, and her husband opened Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe.

1940s - 50s

Expand the sale of Pinconning Cheese beyond the local loyal fan base., through radio coverage, roadside signage, local celebrity endorsements and a giant Mouse.


Pinconning was officially named “Cheese Capital of Michigan” in the 1960s, a sentiment that had been shared by Michigan locals and tourists for decades.


Today’s store is still a family-run business, and our most popular product is still Pinconning Cheese, cut off the wheel and wrapped up the old­-fashioned way.

Wilson's Cheese Shoppe – A family tradition since 1939 – Celebrating our 85th Anniversary in Business!

Since 1939 people have sought out Wilson's famous Pinconning Cheese for nutritious and delicious cheese handcrafted from the milk of grass-fed cows. Our cheese was free of gluten, rBGH, and antibiotics long before health food was fashionable.

This year we celebrate our 85th year of operation at our family-owned business in the small northern Michigan town of Pinconning. Our business is steeped in family tradition and small-town entrepreneurship.

It all began in 1915 when Dan Horn, a Russian immigrant who resided in Pound, Wisconsin, and a cheese maker by trade, moved to Pinconning to join his sister who resided in the Pinconning area, and then created our signature item, Old-Fashioned Pinconning Cheese. The Horn family then constructed a cheese factory and sold the cheese at the adjacent building, the “Horn Grocery Market” on old US-23 (now M-13) in the City of Pinconning.

In 1939 Dan sold the small old grocery store “Horn Grocery Market”, to his daughter and her husband, Inez (Horn) & Lawrence Wilson (also a cheese maker by trade), who move here from Detroit. The Wilson’s came up with the unique idea of a store specializing in all kinds of cheese and “Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe” was born. By 1941 the Wilson’s outgrew the small grocery store and then constructed a new, much larger building. They opened Wilson's Cheese Shoppe directly across the street from the original factory and grocery building to sell her Father’s creation, Pinconning Cheese.

In the fall of 1942, the original Horn-Pinconning Cheese factory burned, and Dan Horn passed away, so the Wilson’s immediately erected a small cheese factory just south of the new store building so that the same Pinconning Cheese could be made by the Wilson’s.  In 1947 the factory could not supply enough cheese to accommodate the sales demand so the Wilson’s contracted with two other local creameries’ using the original formula owned by the Horn/Wilson Family to produce the local specialty for Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe. In 1950 the Wilson’s expanded their retail store and added new space to house a restaurant and “Wilson’s Dairy Bar” was born.  This new addition accommodated travelers going north on busy US-23 through this period of long hours and late-night operations. In 1958 the old factory building and attached hallway were torn down and a new two-story addition was built, and this is how the building is seen to the present day!  In 1965 the famous Wilson’s Cheese giant mouse mascots were made with one being placed on the building (named Inez) and the other (named Ginny for Virginia Peacock, daughter of Inez) was placed on a trailer and paraded all over the state and still is a favorite family tradition for picture taking!

During the 1940s and 1950s, as more and more people traveled the newly paved roads through Pinconning to destinations “Up North” on the sunrise side US-23 corridor, the Master of Marketing, Inez Wilson, saw the opportunity to share our flavorful cheese beyond our local, loyal fan base. Through the late 1950’s and early 60’s, Inez Wilson promoted the signature product Pinconning Cheese and our town by radio coverage, road signs, local celebrity endorsements, networking political and business contacts and erecting landmark giant Wilson mouse mascots at the shoppe’s location.  Inez created a tasty reason to stop and shop in our tiny town and was the driving force for the State of Michigan to designate the City of Pinconning as the “Cheese Capital of Michigan”. 

Through Inez Wilson’s marketing efforts and entrepreneurship, the business thrived, and in 1958 the third generation of the Horn-Wilson Family joined the business operation, daughter Virginia (Wilson) and husband, Merton Peacock.  As a family team Inez, Virginia (Ginny) and Mert operated and expanded the business operation branding the now famous, Pinconning Cheese and adding many other specialty domestic and imported food products, Michigan made items, wines, and spirits to the business.

After the passing of Inez Wilson in 1988, Mert and Ginny Peacock continued to operate the family business until 1998 when they decided to retire. They then sold to the Mike Hasso Family, who operated it until 2001 and then sold it to Keith & Kim Knochel.  Continuing a family operating tradition, the Knochel’s sold the business in 2014 to Brian and Debby Saha, long time residents of Pinconning and cheese entrepreneurs for over 37 years.

So, the family tradition lives on in this new century at Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe as we strive to continue the family orientated business and present quality products with our daughter and son-in-law, Brooke (Saha) and Ryan Kleinhans as our family team at Wilson’s.

As our friendly cheese shoppe continues to grow based on the past traditions and ever-expanding product lines, we promise to never stray from the family orientated values that our staff and customers love. We will continue to present new ideas, quality products and of course, our most popular Pinconning Cheese which is the foundation of Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe. When you shop at our store, samples are plentiful and our famous cheese is still cut fresh off the old fashion wax wheels and wrapped in old style butcher paper, with a smile of appreciation for your continued business!

Today though, we offer much more than traditional cheeses at our counter. Our online catalog has built a global following. In addition to classic cheeses, we also serve artisan imported cheeses, homemade cheese spreads, creamy fudge, savory smoked fish and meats, specialty condiments, baked goods, craft beers, Michigan wines, spirits, gifts, specialty candies for the kids, and more. You can shop online at www.WilsonCheese.com