Stop at Shisler's for directions, but stay for the cheese.
There’s nothing cheesy about Rita Shisler, except perhaps the merchandise in her store. The owner of Shisler’s Cheese House in Orrville, Shisler has been selling cheese to families and tourists for the past 46 years. Her journey into the cheese business began when she married into the Shisler family, who bought the cheese house in 1958.
Located on the edge of Amish Country and a mile from the J.M. Smucker Company, people who come for tourist activities stay for the cheese. In addition to selling locally, Shisler’s Cheese House sells cheese to over 30 counties with over 2,000 pounds of cheese sold per week. “My Swiss cheese is absolutely the best,” says Shisler. “That’s why I sell a ton of it a week.” This third-generation family-owned business keeps local customers coming back by treating them like a part of the family.
What do you sell at Shisler’s Cheese house?
We sell a few imports, but mostly Amish Country-made cheese, baked goods, chocolates, gourmet foods, homemade jams, homemade cookies, fudge and all sorts of goodies. I sell Trail Bologna, which is a really big thing.
What is your most unique cheese?
I have all kinds of smelly cheese. The smelly cheeses are limburger and beer cheese, and those are made in Wisconsin. There’s only one factory left in the U.S. that sells limburger and that’s who I get it from.
What is your favorite cheese?
My favorite is our regular Swiss cheese, which is Pearl Valley. It is from Holmes County.
Do you ever get tired of all that cheese?
Oh no, I love cheese. I eat cheese every day and I have for 46 years.
Do you have any fun stories of working there?
I did ship to Bob Hope when he was alive. I also have people coming in here all the time asking for directions and that’s how we keep them here. I talk to them about our cheese and our history. I love my customers and I try to establish a relationship with them.
What are a few countries that you have shipped to?
Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. We sell a lot to soldiers in Iraq and Iran. We also ship to Vietnam, Australia and Canada.
What are the customer favorites?
My Swiss cheese. That’s our best seller. Then the Trail bologna, which is an all-beef smoked bologna made in Trail, Ohio. It’s just a local thing, but people that used to live in this area and have moved away are dying for it while they’re out of state. They’ll feed it to their neighbors and then they fall in love with it. They’ll call me and I’ll ship it to them. Florida is my number one shipping state.
What is it like working at the store?
It’s very labor intensive. I work seven days a week here and live right here in my store. My store is in the front and my house is in the back.