GREAT article about us in The Massillon Independent by Jolene Limbacher
ORRVILLE Say “cheese” and smile because Shisler’s Cheese House is celebrating its 60th anniversary Friday and Saturday with fun, food and festivities.
It’s a joyous occasion for matriarch Rita Shisler and her family, who have shepherded the small but mighty specialty food shop, which has been a longtime popular tourist stop on the east-west corridor of Rt. 30.
On Aug. 7, 1958, Grandpa John Shisler purchased the cheese house from Fred Bieri, an elderly cheesemaker from Switzerland. Now, six decades and tons and tons of cheese later, it’s time to party.
Throughout the next two days, the celebration will include music, prizes, face painting, characters from the movie “Frozen,” a bounce house and free cheese samples, hot dogs and grilled bratwurst.
The 900-square-foot store, which does a robust business:
- Sells 2,000 pounds of Swiss cheese alone every week.
- Offers imported cheeses from Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Holland.
- Carries 82 different kinds of local cheeses made at six Holmes County cheese factories.
- Shipped cheese and gourmet products to 30 different countries last year.
- Ships to every state in the United States, with the most cheese and bologna going to Florida.
- Has shipped hams made at nearby Streb’s Meats to every National Football League owner.
- Used to send a wheel of baby Swiss every Christmas to legendary comedian Bob Hope. After he died at age 100 in 2003, the shipments continued to his widow, Dolores, until her death in 2011.
It’s a shame, Rita Shisler lamented, that many people only know about pre-packaged cheese that’s cut into slices, wrapped in cellophane and sold as “processed cheese.”
“They have no idea what fresh cheese tastes like,” she said. “Once they taste it, they absolutely fall in love with it.”
Jailed for keeping Sunday hours
For 49 years, Shisler has been opening the store at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at 9 a.m on Sundays. She’s the good-will ambassador with the personal touch and instant rapport with customers, chatting about where they’re from, how many children and grandchildren they have and how they must try their latest kind of cheese.
She reminisced about Grandpa Shisler, who at 19 years old, became the youngest postmaster of Dalton in 1909, a position that was once a political appointment. He held that job for 16 years.
He was quite the rebel, she recalls, because soon after he bought the store in 1958, he didn’t cotton to being told what hours he could keep.
Until, that is, the Wayne County sheriff conducted a sting operation by sending an employee to the store on a Sunday to buy a loaf of bread. With sirens blaring, they hauled a defiant Grandpa off to jail for violating Ohio’s now-defunct blue law, which prohibited retail activity on Sundays.
Then, to punctuate his personal dislike of government dictating his business hours, he refused to allow son Dan to bail him out right away. Grandpa was 76 when he died in 1966.
“I would not have gone to jail,” said Rita Shisler. “I would have followed the law and closed the store.”
Under Dan Shisler’s ownership, which began in 1959, the store grew by leaps and bounds. Rita Shisler said her husband was one of the best baseball players to come out of Dalton High School. From there, he went to Ohio University where he played ball, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, but tore up his shoulder and never fulfilled his dream of playing in the majors.
After Dan and Rita married, he turned the store over to her and became delicatessen and wine manager at the former A & D Foodarama. They opened a second location — Shisler’s Cheese & Wine Barrel — in the Belden Village area in 1974. That store was closed seven years later so they could spend time with sons, Daniel (DJ) and Dennis before they graduated high school and went to college.
Rita’s husband died 14 years ago.
With an estimated 40,000 cars a day passing Shisler’s Cheese House, Rita Shisler said about 80 percent of their customers are tourists or folks who frequently travel to the Columbus and Canton areas.
Plans call for expanding the current structure late this fall, making it at least three times larger and having a dining area for soups and sandwiches. Dennis, a third-generation Shisler who manages the store, which is just outside of Dalton, would like to construct a building nearby to expedite shipping orders. Sixty percent of shipments, he said, go to the Tampa-Clearwater area, crediting much of those sales to local people who have moved South.
The family also has discussed opening stores in the Greater Tampa area, Dallas and perhaps Reno.
A second location is open in Copley at 1275 Cleveland-Massillon Road and is owned by son Daniel Shisler. It offers catering, deli sandwiches and soup, wines and a large variety of specialty foods.
At 72, Rita Shisler remains active in Orrville Lions Club, Dalton Ruritans, Women’s Network of Wooster and Akron, and Quota International, a women’s group that assists community members with hearing problems. The store employs many area students, who Shisler mentors about business and doing what’s right.
Dennis Shisler and his wife, Claudia, have a nine-year-old daughter, Natalia, who, as a fourth-generation Shisler, enjoys being in the store with her grandmother and running the cash register and making change.
See the full text of the original article in the Massillon Independent here.
There are countless recipes for fondue, but most contain some form of the original “Swiss” cheese. Many contain Emmentaler or Gruyere, but in today’s economic climate it is not always necessary to break the bank with expensive imports to impress your guests. The taste is what will impress them, and the best tasting fondue we’ve tried is made with Ohio’s Amish Country Swiss Cheese.
- 1 ½ Pounds of Grated Swiss Cheese
- 1 peeled fresh garlic clove
- ½ Pint of white wine
- 1 Ounce of kirsch
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- pepper, nutmeg, or paprika to taste
Serves 5 guests.
Our Segment on Out ‘N About Columbus that aired on September 29, 2013. Here is where you can purchase some of the items that were referenced: Ohio Swiss Cheese, Yogurt Cheese With Garlic and Herb, Manchego Cheese, Smoked Cheddar Cheese, Heggy’s Chocolates.
Here is a wonderful recipe with Amish Country Swiss Cheese as the principle element While there are many cheeses on the market that fall under the broad title of “Swiss Cheese”, including almost anything with holes at your local grocery store, we have found that the proper cheese will make or break the recipe. The mass-produced cheeses found at most grocery stores typically use chemicals to speed the aging process. But those chemicals of leave a metallic aftertaste to the cheese, which can negatively alter the taste of the pie. For anyone desiring a bolder flavor, trying substituting the Swiss cheese with Emmentaler or adding some sharp swiss into the mixture.
For the Crust:
- 1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
With fingertips, work it until crumbly:
- 1/4 lb. butter or margarine (½ cup)
Slowly add, stirring with fork:
- 1/4 cup cold water
For the filling:
Fry until crisp:
Into bowl break:
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of cream
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Heavy pinch of sugar
- Pepper to taste
Shape the mixture into a ball and roll it in wax paper; chill it in the refrigerator, about 1/2 hour or until it’s easy to roll. Preheat the oven to 425°F. On a floured board, roll the dough into a large circle about 14 inches in diameter and fit it into 11” pie plate. Make a fluted edge as shown. Aerate the crust well with a fork. Place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Beat the mixture thoroughly with an egg beater. Take the piecrust from the refrigerator and rub the inside with 1 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle the bacon bits, and then the grated cheese evenly in the bottom of the piecrust. Pour the cream mixture evenly over all.
Bake for 15 min., then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F, bake for 40 minutes longer or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve hot, cut into pie wedges.
A Collection of The Best Sweet Treats for The True Chocolate Lover!
Heggy’s Candy Company has built a rich tradition of premium hand crafted chocolates and candies throughout the United States for over 9 decades. Founded by Ben Heggy in 1923, Heggy’s Chocolates remains one of the premiere candy companies in America.
Over the years, Heggy’s Chocolates has remained a family owned and operated business and today they maintain a high level of commitment to their customers and the community.
While the art of handcrafting quality candies and chocolates has been discarded by most candy producers, Heggy’s Chocolates has withstood the test of time. They still use the care and patience necessary for Heggy’s Chocolates unique savory taste.
Heggy’s Chocolates has built a devoted following of candy lovers in the US over the years, and we at Shisler’s have created a special Chocolate Lover’s Valentines Gift Box made primarily from Heggy’s Chocolates.
The Valentine’s Chocolate Gift Box Includes:
Chocolate Covered Fruit
Custom designed for the sophisticated lady!This package includes Havarti Cheese, Heggy’s Solid Milk Chocolate Heart, Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Fudge, Strawberry Caramel Creams, and Yogurt Covered Cranberries. Best Enjoyed with a glass of wine and a warm hug!
For the man in your life. Flowers and candy just don’t work as well for men. So why not let him indulge in what he truly loves! This collection includes a ring of Troyer’s Genuine Trail Bologna, Ohio Swiss Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, Clem’s Hot Pepper Relish, Shisler’s Private Label Mustard, and Carr’s Table Water Crackers!
Have you ever heard of Trail Bologna? We used to think everyone had. Passers-through never seemed to be able to get enough of it. But then we realized that it was only available in the local area. We have seen imitations in places like California and New Jersey with clever names like “Ring Bologna.” But this is a perfect example of one of those cases where nothing even comes close to the original: Troyer’s Trail Bologna.
Trail is capitalized because it is named after the tiny town of Trail, Ohio. Trail is so small that it does not even have it’s own zip code. It shares a zip code with the nearby town of Dundee, OH, and population statistics are not even available. Trail was so named because SR 515, the main road through the town, was originally a trail created by American Indians before the European settlers moved to the area. About the only thing in Trail Ohio today is the original production facility where Troyer’s Trail Bologna is made, complete with a general store where enthusiasts can buy all of the products Troyer’s offers, along with other local fare.
Michael Troyer began producing this bologna in 1912. He used a special blend of seasonings and unique wood smoking process to develop this chunky beef bologna with a rich smoky flavor. It was originally hand stuffed into casing and rolled into its hallmark “ring” shape. It is a common misconception that the Original Trail Bologna was made from Venison (deer meat). It is illegal to sell the meat of wild game, so the Original Trail Bologna is all beef. But the facility will process deer brought in by hunters using their unique methods. There is also a rumor that Michael Troyer purchased his recipe for $25 from another family in Trail named Weiss, who had already been producing the now famous bologna for some time. But that has never been confirmed.
Today, Kenny, Kevin, and Darrin Troyer run the facility with the same standard of quality that their great grandfather did nearly one hundred years ago. Of course the facility has evolved. The Trail Bologna is no longer hand stuffed and modern machinery has enabled them to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. The facility now produces an average of 50 tons of Trail Bologna per month, doubling that during the holiday season. But the standard of quality that made Troyer’s Trail Bologna famous has never faltered. All three brothers are still highly involved with the production process. They now offer their Trail Bologna infused with locally made cheddar cheese and hot pepper cheese. They also produce it in sandwich size logs suitable for slicing and enjoying on sandwiches. They even make a Turkey Trail Bologna for their more health conscious customers.
Troyer’s Trail Bologna is best enjoyed with Swiss Cheese, Baby Swiss Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, or Hot Pepper Cheese for those with a more daring palate. Local and tourist taste buds are intimately familiar with the unique flavor of Troyer’s Trail Bologna. Locals who move out of state often complain that they cannot find it anywhere else. It can be very difficult to find outside of the state of Ohio. Fortunately however, for those who are web-savvy, one local merchant is offering it nationwide over the internet at https://cheesehouse.com/troyers-trail-bologna.aspx
Enjoy the smoky flavor of Troyer’s Trail Bologna, an Ohio Amish Country original!