Easter, the day in which Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday or the “highest feast” of the year. It has been called a movable feast because it does not fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the Western Rite celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the Vernal Equinox, that is, the first day of astronomical Spring. Because of this, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to determine on what date Easter will fall and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western Rite celebrates Easter as the Western Rite follows the Gregorian calendar.
Origins of Easter
The exact origins of the name “Easter” aren’t entirely known, although there is plenty of speculation on it. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. While other sources trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient Latin reference to Easter week and the white clothing worn by those baptized during that time frame. It wasn’t until a translation error, that the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually came to be known as Easter in present-day English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, meaning Passover. Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, the Jewish festival commemorating the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt from slavery. Pascha eventually came to mean Easter.
In addition to Easter’s religious significance, it also has a commercial side, as evidenced by the mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that appear in stores each spring. As with Christmas, over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions, including Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy, have become a standard part of this holy holiday.
While the Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short and bushy-tailed creature who hops on its hind legs to deliver decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday, the Easter bunny has become an iconic symbol of the Easter holiday. The exact origins of the Easter Bunny are, again, unclear, but rabbits, known to be procreators, are an ancient symbol of both fertility and new life, quite fitting for the meaning of this great holiday. According to some sources, the Easter bunny made its first appearance in America in the 1700s with German immigrants in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called Osterhase. The children would make nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. This custom eventually made its way all the U.S. The Easter Bunny has been known deliver chocolates and other types of candy and gifts, while the original nests advanced into beautifully decorated baskets. As tradition has it, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his deliveries.
The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to symbolize Jesus’ resurrection, his emergence from the tomb. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back circa the 13th century, as source claim. One theory for the painting of eggs at Easter is that eggs were normally a food that was frowned upon during the Lenten season, therefore, people would decorate these eggs to signify the end of the period of penance and fasting and the beginning of the Easter celebration and new life.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular Easter traditions. In the U.S., the White House Easter Egg Roll is an annual event held the Monday after Easter. The first official White House egg roll occurred in 1878 under President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Among the most popular sweet treats associated with this day are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Another Easter candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter around the 1930s. According to the National Confectioners Association, over 16 billion jelly beans are made in the U.S. each year for Easter!
Other favorite Easter candies include: Chocolate Bunnies, Chocolate Crosses, Filled Chocolate Eggs and other Chocolate assortmentments.
Shisler’s Cheese House carries a wide assortment of foods to bring a taste of Easter to your home! Be sure to stop in and find out how we can help!
In New York City, the Easter Parade tradition dates back to around the mid-1800s, when the upper tier of society attended Easter services acrossvarious church along Fifth Avenue, then stroll outside afterward, showing off their new spring outfits and hats. Average citizens started showing up along Fifth Avenue to check out the action as time wore on. The tradition reached its peak by the mid-20th century.
Today, the Easter Parade tradition lives on in Manhattan, with Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to 57th Street being closed to vehicular traffic. Participants often sport elaborately decorated Easter apparel. The event has no religious significance, but sources note that Easter processions have been a part of Christianity since its earliest days. Today, other cities across America also have their own parades.
From Shisler’s Cheese House to your house, wishing you and your loved ones a safe, happy and blessed Easter!
Imagine life without the presence of Cheddar Cheese or some form of it… Yep, it’s hard to imagine life without cheddar cheese — there’s a block of it in the fridge of nearly every household, ready to be sprinkled onto scrambled eggs, melted within grilled cheese sandwiches or stirred into cheese sauce for homemade macaroni and cheese.
Cheddar cheeses can becoming confusing with its complexities of flavors and appearances: some are white, some are yellow or orange, and some cheddars are mild, sharp or extra sharp. Cheddars seem to be the only cheese with that distinction, so what does it all mean?
How is Cheddar Cheese Made?
Before we get to talking about sharp cheddar cheese, to begin, let’s delve into what cheddar is in the first place. It’s a cow’s milk cheese that originated in the village of Cheddar, England and has since grown immensely, taking the nation by storm, becoming one of the most popular and inexpensive cheeses in the US.
The cheddar-making process starts out like most other cheeses: the milk is cultured, a process in which starter bacteria is added to acidify the milk. When a sufficient amount of acid is produced, rennet is added and milk curds are formed. Upon the formation of these curds, the excess watery whey is drained out to leave behind mostly concentrated curds. These concentrated curds are then heated to about 100° F to release even more excess, watery whey and sequentially, begin the process of melting these curds together.
It’s at this point that cheddar continues on a different path,as compared to other cheeses, in cheese-making called the cheddaring process. The curds are formed into big slabs that are the piled together and flipped over several times, getting denser with each flip while releasing more of this watery whey. It is at this stage that the pressed curds are sent through a mill that produce smaller curds again before being pressed into molds to drain further and begin the aging process.
The Many Colors of Cheddar…
Why is some cheddar white while other variations of cheddar are yellow and others, orange? Historically, cheddars made in New England were not dyed and left white, while cheddars made elsewhere were dyed with things like annatto to help readily distinguis the cheddar’s origin. Today, it’s just a sense of consumer preference and both dyed and undyed variations of cheddar are still produced for consumption.
What Makes Cheddar Sharp?
Cheddar cheese is one of those unique cheeses in the dairy industry that has a its own descriptor before it, “sharp”. It’s carries this label rather loosely and is not regulated, so designations can be and tend to be inconsistent across various brands.
Sharp is a term that illustrates how cheddar changes in its flavor and texture over a period of time; for simplicity’s sake, sharp is used for cheddar as it ages… the stronger the bite, the longer it has been aged. Milder variations of cheddars are generally aged 2 to 3 months, sharper variations are aged 6 to 9 months, and extra-sharp are generally aged 1 to 2 years, before the final product. As cheddar ages, it goes from mild to tangier with more complex, deeper and bolder flavors. Its texture also goes from smooth and creamy to developing hard, salt-like crystals called calcium lactate. So, next time when you’re biting into an aged, Sharp Cheddar, and feel a crunch, it is these crystals that are producing this distinct crunch.
The best way to understand the age and sharpness of cheddar is to taste two different ages of cheddar side-by-side. Go with the same brand if possible to have a fair comparison and begin the aged cheddar tasting experience! Only then will you know if you like mild and creamy or nutty, tangy and bold.
Cooking with Cheddar
Whether just nibbling on cheddar or planning a dish involving Sharp Cheddar, the best practice is to go with the age (sharpness) of cheddar you think tastes the best. On the contrary, cooking with cheddar is an entirely different tale. The more aged the cheddar is, the less moisture it contains and the greater the heat needed to melt it. Mild or sharp cheddars melt the best, while aged cheddars tend to share melting behaviors similar to Parmesan cheese.
There you have it…. everything you need to know about cheddar and how to pick the right one at your local grocery store or specialty store. Shisler’s Cheese House carries a great selection of mild and aged cheddar cheeses!
On the Map…
Amish Country is comprised of several northern Ohio counties, its biggest population residing in Holmes County, which is where approximately half of Ohio’s Amish families reside; research indicates that Holmes County may be the first county in the nation where the majority of residents are Amish. Other neighboring counties having Amish communities are Wayne, Tuscarawas, and Coshocton Counties. Visitors to these regions may also note an Amish influence in Ashland and Knox Counties.
Why is Amish Country one of the most sought-after and visited places in the state of Ohio? The answer is simple, but for many reasons. Amish Country truly portrays the “blue collar, working class” style of life where nothing is taken for granted and every resource is used to culminate Earth’s natural products. Another reason to visit Amish Country is its sheer, flawless beauty, ever-changing with the seasons. It is a very beautiful country that gives us a glimpse of life before the infrastructure, transportation networks, airline networks, and other technologies of today. For those looking for a peaceful escape from the “hustle and bustle” of daily life, they will find it at the heart of Amish Country. Not to mention the Amish country Ohio cheese that is always delicious!
Some major Amish communities include…
- Walnut Creek
A Look Into The Past
The Amish lifestyle is a good reflection for us to look into our own past. This lifestyle provides us with a great opportunity to go back in time when technology and machines were not at the forefront and when life was slowed down which enabled us to take pride in the work our hands and minds could accomplish.
With the rush of new technology that has taken our world by storm in the last handful of decades, the Amish found ways to thrive through this mass technology movement and remain true to their ways of life, not letting these waves of technology and machines take away a person’s ability to work with their hands and reaping the fruits of their labor. The most iconic image of Amish Country is the “horse and buggy” as once you’ve seen this method of transportation, you’ll know you’re in a world where pride in handiwork far exceeds the capacities of technology, and that is a wonderful thing and a delightful change of pace in world otherwise dominated by technology and machines.
A Taste of Amish Country in Ohio…
Unless you’re from Amish Country or have taken trips to take in the life and culture of the Amish lifestyle, then you may not entirely have a solid understanding or appreciation of Amish folks and their lifestyle. As touched on earlier, Ohio has a number of counties with large populations of Amish households with the number continually growing. With Holmes, Wayne, and Hardin Counties leading the way in Amish populations, it is believed that in the next 4-5 years, Holmes County will have more Amish populations, than English (as they term “non-Amish” folk).
There are four orders of Amish lifestyle; each being entirely different from the other… the Swartzenruber Amish, the Andy Weaver Amish, the Old Older Amish, and the New Order Amish. It is the Old Older Amish that plays the traditional role of foregoing technology, instead using the former ways of hand and tireless work while using the horse and buggy for transportation.
There are two main religious sects that dominate the Amish lifestyle, Mennonite and Amish. With church districts made up of around two dozen families, Amish families continue to grow. Amish children are less likely to leave, but remain a part of their community or relocate to a neighboring Amish community. It is not uncommon for one farm to have multiple generations living and working on the same farmstead.
Large farms were once at the center of Amish life, but that has slowly been evolving in a different direction. With the growing number of Amish populations across the region, along with increasing land prices, purchasing farmland has become challenging. This has led to a change in societal development. In order to adapt to this change, smaller-sized farms are replacing large grain farms and are more common. Vegetable production produces enough for a number of families. Also allowing for these vegetables to be sold to the public as a means of additional income. These sales are usually done through auction sites now.
Although the Amish may disagree on certain issues, there are a number of things they do agree on. One of these ideas centers on a tireless work effort with their practices not having any influence on the modern world of advancing technologies. Essentially they stay true to their roots.
Amish farms continue to be the apex and heart of Amish Country. While the number of farms has not increased nearly to the extent that the Amish population has. Many families remain on the family farm by adding housing, as the children grow up.
In recent years, a movement from agriculture to more trade work has transpired. Research illustrates that around 17% of Amish men continue to work on farmland while the remainder work as skilled craftsmen. Hardin County remains the only county where a majority of the men continue to work on farmlands.
The Road To Amish Country Ohio Cheese…
The road to Amish Country was once a less traveled route. However, in recent years, this road has since become well-traveled and explored. On your way to Amish Country, be sure to stop by some iconic and very well-known stops. From The J.M. Smucker Company known for their iconic jams, jellies, and other delights to the Kidron Auction, Ohio’s oldest auction, since 1923 to Troyer’s Pantry, an Amish bakery, you can’t go wrong experiencing Amish tradition at any one of these stops.
As you’re heading to Amish Country, along the road to Amish country, be sure to stop by a small, family-owned store along US Route 30 in Orrville, Ohio, Shisler’s Cheese House.
Shisler’s Cheese House is a family-owned specialty store! We focus on traditional culinary treats ranging from a wide array of imported and domestic cheeses. Also, we provide meats, candies, cookies, and other delicious treats for an on-the-go meal or delicious snack.
Got your fill of cheese, meat, chocolates, and other decadent goodies? Let Shisler’s Cheese House be your one-stop shop for your ultimate “Road To Amish Country” experience!
One of the most common, famous and easy-to-make foods is the proverbial “Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich” otherwise known as “PB & J” adhering to modern lingo. It is easy to make, requiring only bread, jelly (or jam) and peanut butter as it satisfies any hungry stomach as a meal or a quick snack.
The History of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich…
The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich has become such a staple of America that is seems like it has been around since the beginning of time. Ironically, with all the ingredients needed already around, it took quite sometime for someone to compile all of it into the renowned PB & J sandwich. Peanut Butter was originally paired with a diverse combination of other foods: pimento, cheese and celery, just to name a few. In an 1896 article in Good Housekeeping, a recipe suggested the use of a meat grinder to create peanut butter and the concoction was to be spread on a slice of bread. Later that year, a culinary magazine published a recipe for making “Peanut Butter Sandwiches”. The first reference of the pairing of peanut butter and jelly on bread came in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901. Through the early parts of the 1900s, the sandwich and its constituent ingredients gradually were made affordable and available to everyone as the price of peanut butter began to plummet. Later, it became a popular staple for children and during World War II, it was noted that that both peanut butter and jelly were listed on the U.S. soldiers’ military ration list, as claimed by the Peanut Board.
It’s Not Just Making the Sandwich, It’s The Quality of the Sandwich That Counts
We’ve all likely had a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich at some point in our lives, or too many too count, which is the case for me. But what makes the PB & J sandwich experience a unique and sensational one? You’re probably thinking… wait, it’s just a regular PB & J sandwich… how sensational can it get? To that I say, with the right, quality ingredients, a PB & J sandwich can rock your world, and then some!
Using the jelly found on the third shelf down in your refrigerator and the peanut butter in the door shelf, one could see the mundane nature of the sandwich. Yes, it’s a good PB & J sandwich, but good could always be better. The ingredients are everything when making this sandwich. Everything from the type of bread, to the brand of jelly or jam, to the brand and texture of peanut butter that you use. Is the bread white, wheat, rye, sour dough or whole grain? Is the peanut butter smooth or chunky? Is the bread toasted or not? All of these subtle differences up front, make a world of difference in the end in the PB & J experience.
Suggestions to make your PB & J Experience A Memorable One
While a good PB & J sandwich features peanut butter and jelly usually picked up at your convenient store or grocery chain, let’s step outside of the realm of normalcy and add an explosion of flavor to our PB & J sandwich. While jellies, jams, peanut butter and breads can be found in your grocery store bread aisle, the best of these ingredients are found in locally and privately-owned specialty stores, such as here at Shisler’s Cheese House. Here we have an wide assortment of jams and jellies that are locally produced. We also carry some of the best peanut butter around made in Walnut Creek, Ohio. This is an Amish Peanut Butter made locally from a special blend of all natural ingredients. Amish Peanut Butter Spread is a sweet, creamy peanut butter that tastes great on just about anything. With a soft and silky texture, our Amish Peanut Butter Spread is a must try and will make any PB & J sandwich an incredible treat for your taste buds.
Let Us Help You Make That Incredible Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Had enough of PB & J sandwiches with those peanut butters and jellies in your refrigerator and in the grocery store aisle? Then let us, at Shisler’s Cheese House,
help you make that delicious creation! Click on ingredients below to begin your PB & J experience at our store:
Be sure to stop in and check out our selection of specialty breads that will complete your PB & J experience! While you’re in our store, be sure to check out all of our other specialty products including meats, cheeses, chocolates, cookies and a plethora of other decadent goodies! Visit our online store by clicking the image below!
**We are now selling Girl Scout Cookies! Stop in and get some today!**
The History of Lebanon Bologna
Situated in Pennsylvania’s Dutch country, Seltzer’s Lebanon Bologna houses the secrets of creating superior Lebanon Bologna. The mouthwatering creation began before the turn of the century as Pennsylvania Germans were resourceful by incorporating Old World butchering, curing and sausage-making skills into Lebanon County farm life.
Known for their reputation for quality and reliability, Seltzer’s Lebanon Bologna is a cut above the rest when, leading the industry in this regional product and specialty. Being the largest global distributor of this specialty, the company reaches all corners of the nation, distributing Lebanon Bologna. Continuing to hold steady to traditional methods, the Seltzer brand has defied modern cost-cutting methods as they produce their bologna the way it was meant to be produced, the old-fashioned way, using tall, wooden smokehouses over hand-tendered fires. Word has it that the secret behind the incredible taste is not within the ingredients, but instead in the smoke and curing stages where billows of smoke in dark smokehouses slowly and steadily spice logs of aged beef. My mouth is watering just thinking about this process…
Air control is a critical aspect of all industry operations, as the smell of the meat smoking process can permeate the air. When the federal government began inspecting meat-packing industries, the first to be inspected was the Lebanon Bologna company. Today, it continues to uphold its notoriety for quality and customer satisfaction as it remains of one of the oldest, continually USDA approved operations in the country. This speaks measures of its product quality.
Keeping their tradition thriving, Seltzer’s Bologna integrates the old world with the modern world, upholding tradition while implementing selective technological improvements as they continue their dominance of a consistent, uniform product. Mix in a little art and science and you have the birth of an exceptional old world-new world smoked bologna that leaves your taste buds begging for more.
Seltzer’s Lebanon Bologna is created and prepared with Pennsylvania Dutch quality and pride. In Lebanon County, where the way of life centers around “good food and plenty of it”, Seltzer’s is longstanding American tradition that continues today.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend…
In 1902, Harvey Seltzer, an ambitious butcher, concocted a unique combination of pure beef and spices. From this combination, he produced his bologna becoming so popular that he started production on a much larger scale and named his company Palmyra, his hometown. His original recipe has been handed down from generation to generation and his family today continues to produce the high-quality, exemplary taste, that is Lebanon Bologna.
An Everyday Treat!
Lebanon Bologna, while it is absolutely delicious, is not just a holiday or special occasion eat, it’s a treat for every day and it makes every day a treat! Have a slice of Lebanon Bologna on a sandwich, or chunk it up into a salad, or for the daring souls out there (such as myself), eat it a slice straight from the bologna log, its delightful any way served! Lebanon Bologna has such a profound impact on folks, that in some cases, it is known that the delicious flavors cause people to coin this “Lebanon Baloney”
Pick Some Up Today
If you’re at Shisler’s Cheese House or around the area, be sure to try some of the world renowned Lebanon Bologna. You can’t go wrong and it pairs very nicely with cheese! Eat it as a quick lunch or dinner, or even as a snack on the car ride to or from your destination. Shisler’s Cheese House is a one-stop shop for this delicious taste of Lebanon! Here at Shisler’s Cheese House, we carry Lebanon Bologna and Sweet Lebanon Bologna, both ready for you to try so that you can experience a true taste of the rich Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.
Check out our supply of Lebanon Bologna by clicking on any of the links below!
To visit our site for other delightful eats, click here or the on the image below!
Don’t have any weekend plans and want to take a nice road trip? Does your daily commute take you along US Route 30 through Orrville or Dalton, OH? If so, make sure to stop by the wonderland of cheese stores in the Great Lakes region, Shisler’s Cheese House. Known for its plethora of cheeses and delightful goodies, Shisler’s Cheese House will provide you with one of the best experiences you’ll have this side of the Mississippi.
Among the incredible amount of cheeses, our most famous is Pearl Valley Swiss. Pearl Valley Swiss comes from Fresno, OH, just south of Ohio’s Amish Country. Around since 1928, Pearl Valley Swiss has been an exemplary culinary artwork to all that have had the opportunity to taste this delicious masterpiece. Pearl Valley Swiss has a delightful, yet delicate flavor that cannot be mistaken with its rich, yet smooth flavor. Once you’ve had a bite of Pearl Valley Swiss at Shisler’s Cheese, you will have a new-found appreciation for cheese.
Where to find the gold, that is Pearl Valley Swiss Cheese in our store? Come on in and head straight to our cutting counter and you will see this brilliant display of Pearl Valley Swiss. We also do cheese cuts at your request! Only want a 1/2 lb. or 1/4 lb., we tailor to your requests. At 4.99/lb., you can’t go wrong taking some of this marvelous Swiss Cheese home with you today.
While you’re in the store, be sure to check out all of our other decadent goodies, from delicious cookies to a our large supply of Ben Heggy’s Chocolates to our Troyer’s Original Trail Bologna and other meats. Shisler’s Cheese House is your one-stop shop for a culinary experience you won’t soon forget!
Shisler’s Cheese House Copley is owned by one of our family members. They are located at 1275 S. Cleveland Massillon Rd. Copley, OH 44321 and on the web at www.shislerswordpress-436460-1531479.cloudwaysapps.com.
In this day and age, good customer service can kill your business. That is because outstanding customer service has become an expectation, especially for small business owners. Outstanding customer service is the best way to stand out from your big competitors.
Today I saw the negative impact of mediocre customer service habits first-hand. I took a water sample to a local pool store to have it tested and get some advice on what chemicals I needed to add. The clerk looked to be about High School age, and was sufficiently professional and pleasant when I asked for help. She computer tested the water and printed a report. She advised me that my pool water needed to be stabilized, and the report suggested I add eight pounds of stabilizer to my pool water. I immediately questioned this, because I own a small pool and thought that sounded excessive. But she assured me that the computer had taken the pool size into consideration when analyzing the water. So I purchased the stabilizer as she had recommended. Such a large amount cost nearly $30. She also provided me with a copy of the water sample test results.
When I got to the car, I glanced over the test results and noticed that the test results had in fact suggest adding 8 OUNCES of stabilizer, not 8 pounds as the clerk had said. I re-entered the store and waited for her to finish with another customer, then explained that she had made a mistake and showed her the test results. She apologized profusely, but I told her it was fine. We all make mistakes.
She then proceeded to explain that it was their store policy to only give store credit for returns, and that she could not give me cash back. I only have a small pool and do not make many purchases at this store, so I was not pleased with the idea of store credit, especially for an amount I would most likely not spend there by the end of the season. So I politely asked her to make an exception, especially considering it was her error that that caused me to purchase more than I needed, and the transaction had taken place less than 10 minutes prior. She said she could call her boss and ask him to make an exception, but he was normally very strict on this policy and would most likely refuse. So I asked her to call her boss.
By this time she had clearly become angry. Her body language had changed and she had begun to raise her voice toward me. It took her two calls to reach her boss. I assume he instructed her to make the exception and return my money, because she did just that. But she would not look at me or say a word. She obviously felt I had done something wrong to her.
In the end, I was satisfied and got what I wanted. I felt no disdain for the clerk for making a minor mistake. But the way she responded to her mistake caused the experience to become rather unpleasant. While the business owner did the right thing, I left there having made the decision that I would drive a few extra miles to the next pool store in the future. I would find it very awkward to do business with that clerk again. I also drove straight to my own store and recounted the experience to three of my employees and explained why that would be completely unacceptable in our store.
This is why at Shisler’s, our employees are trained to provide nothing less than outstanding service. Whether you choose to do business at our brick and mortar or online store, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Beyond insisting that our employees provide outstanding service, we do our best to provide a pleasant work environment for them, in which those service habits develop naturally. If you ever receive anything less than outstanding service, please give us the opportunity to correct the situation and let me or a member of our senior staff know.
We appreciate your business. “Without you the customer, we would not exist.”
All we ever see on the news these days is economic doom and gloom, with a forecast for more of the same. But even during a recession, the American dream is alive and well for anyone with a strong work ethic and the resilience to roll with the punches. At least it was for the successful owner of Shisler’s Cheese House, Rita Shisler.
Rita emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1956 with nothing but the clothes on her back. She was not even able to speak the language. She inherited her work ethic from her father, who held three jobs while he supported his wife and four children. He passed his dream of business ownership on to Rita, who was eldest of the four. But the work ethic alone was not enough to survive as a business owner. She would have to learn to keep the faith through the many trials and tribulations that every business owner must face.
During the recession of the 1980s, Rita was at the helm of a family business on the verge of bankruptcy. Shisler’s Cheese House was still following its original business model, which resembled a neighborhood deli. But now the meats and cheeses could be found for a lower price at any of the local grocery stores. The business was caught in a downward spiral. She had one child in college and another in Junior High at the time, and she was left to face it all on her own. She made the agonizing decision to sell the business…but fate had other plans.
Thanks to the slow economy and double-digit interest rates, the business just would not sell. Every time she got a buyer lined up, the deal fell through. So she decided to give it one more shot at making the business work. She began making sandwiches for a gas station on the interstate a few miles away. The sandwiches were a hit and soon the one account grew to ten different accounts. This alleviated some of the financial pressure, but the work became exhausting. Twenty-hour workdays were not uncommon. She woke up at 2AM and began making sandwiches. Her youngest son got up to help her deliver them a few hours later. Then she dropped him off at school and got back just in time to open the store at 9AM. She then stayed open until 8PM. This was a typical day for many years.
Through all of this, her faithful customers continued to shop there and would not give up on her. The revenue from the sandwich accounts enabled her to pay down some debt and begin introducing new products into the store. She began to re-define the business to be a reflection of local culture, rather than just the virtually obsolete neighborhood deli. She only dealt in the best locally made cheeses and meats, and began introducing some imported cheeses and gourmet foods to her product offering. She also dedicated a portion of her retail space to gourmet chocolates, and she was able to gain distribution rights to the world famous but locally owned Heggy’s Chocolates. She also became focused on providing the best customer service. The loyal customers were the life blood of her business, and the reason it survived the difficult times. This was the turning point for Shisler’s Cheese House. From there, it evolved into the thriving business it is today.
Here is the abbreviated list of her accomplishments:
- Gross sales of $30,000 a year in 1958 to over a half-million in 2009.
- From grandpa Shisler alone behind the counter in 1958, to 6 full- time and 4 part- time employees.
- From weekly cheese sales of 300 pounds, to over a ton per week, tripling that during the month of December.
- From a small grocery line and 6 types of cheese, to 80 domestic and imported cheeses, 30 local smoked meats, and over 300 gourmet foods and chocolates.
- Adding a “Skinny Alternatives” line to satisfy the more health conscious customer base and a product line for the ever growing diabetic patients with sugar free items.
- Designating Shisler’s Cheese House as a wealth of information for tourists and a favorite Tour Bus Stop (3 to 4 buses a week from spring to fall).
- Her eldest son D.J. Shisler opened a second Shisler’s Cheese House in Copley, OH with a wider selection of imported cheeses and a selection of fine wine to go with them.
- She brought her delicious product line to the rest of the world by shipping to all fifty states and over thirty countries. Shisler’s Cheese House began offering the online shopping experience at www.wordpress-436460-1531479.cloudwaysapps.com last year.
- Plans to expand are currently under way. She plans to triple her retail space so she can offer more of the wonderful gourmet products Shisler’s Cheese House has become famous for. The expansion will also include a diner where the customers can sample recipes that include her delicious products.
There are no free rides, and no one has ever become successful simply because they thought they were entitled. But for those willing to persevere, the American Dream is Alive and well, even for a disadvantaged immigrant woman struggling to survive in what is perceived to be a man’s world. Rita Shisler is living proof of that.