All in the (Cheesy) Family
Gordy Bergemann has been in the cheese biz since the 1970's when he took a part time job loading trucks at Armour Dairy Company in Monroe. He's done everything from stacking 100-pound blocks of Swiss cheese to managing cheese shredding lines. In 1998, he moved to the retail side of things - managing Maple Leaf Cheese Store in Juda. He and his wife Ruth have now owned the store for 15 years.
Gordy's daughter Shauna didn't far too fall from the cheesy family tree. She's been working full time with her dad since 2010, since that time changing up the marketing to include social media and adding an online store.
Now that Shauna's son Ayden is old enough for a work permit, he's on the official payroll - helping out after school by stocking coolers and running the register.
Shauna is also back in school, with one year left for a degree in business management. In the future, she'll buy the store from her dad. She'll encourage Ayden to explore his options, but would love to see him continue with the family tradition.
More than 99% of the cheese carried at Maple Leaf Cheese Store is from Green County and within the state. Both Gordy and Shauna agree that their mission is to keep it local and keep it unique. "It doesn't need to be fancy - it just needs to be good," says Shauna. "And all of our cheese here is good."
Photo: One night when Gordy Bergemann walked into a party, someone said "hey there's the Cheese Guy!" The nickname stuck. Of course that makes his daughter Shauna the Cheese Girl, and grandson Ayden (hoisting a 45-pound wedge of Emmentaler) the Little Cheese Guy.