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Pinconning, Cheese Town Capital of Michigan

Updated on August 21, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish offers 30 years successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).


Williams Cheese Company

Williams Cheese Company is a cheese and sandwich shop only a 20-minute drive north on M-13 from Bay City. The pleasant drive is along the highway parallels the shores of Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron and along the way are several side roads that will take you to primitive beaches and picnic areas for walking and birding activities. Many small shops and attractions fill M-13 to Pinconning, including Deer Acres Amusement Park, but the cheese shop facing M-13 (998 N. Huron Road in Linwood) is the highlight of the journey.

Every trip up to Mid-Michigan, friends and I visit Pinconning to purchase a supply of cheeses. During each trip, we also discover something new in the town. The cheese so flavorful and moderately priced, that I take the popular refrigeration bags available now or a cooler. The shop also has a mark-down case full of odd sizes of cut up cheese ends at very good discount prices. They are fabulous!-- Colby, American, Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, and many others.

In addition to dozens of different varieties and flavors of cheeses, the shop offers locally made breads, sandwich spreads, snacks, pickled eggs, sausages, dressings, dips, and dessert items. Sample containers are filled with cubes of all types of cheeses and patrons are free to help themselves while they make their big cheese decisions. Grandma's Cheese Bread is delicious and several other types on shelves allow for an interesting variety of sandwiches. Most people purchase a selection and have a picnic in the parking lot.

The shop carries several brands of products, one being the Williams brand cheeses, speciality cheeses, cheese spreads, and flavored cheeses. Another is the Amish Country brand cheeses, and the store features some private labels. The Williams company is very busy in making, aging, and packaging its own products - and over 5,000,000 pounds of cheeses every year. The shop is open 7 days a week, except for major holidays.

Williams's flavored cheeses are some that I have not found in my area. They are a great favorite of travelers that enjoy cheese and Williams offers a Hot Jalapeno Pepper Cheese (my favorite), Green Onion Ranch, Sharp & Creamy, Garden Vegetable (an award-winner), Horseradish (my other favorite), Roasted Garlic (delicious), Green Olive (delicious!) and others. Among all the varieties produced on site, the Pinconnning variety cheese itself is award-winning. It is a cow's milk cheese first produced in this village in 1915, milder than cheddar or colby (although it ages well to as sharp as a cheese can get), and especially good in recipes for macaroni and cheese. The William's website offers their own recipe.

Williams Cheese Company was founded in 1945 by James and Janina Williams in an old barn and today, an iconic giant fiberglass cow welcomes customers at the main entrance. Many travelers have their pictures taken with the cow, who is as famous in Cheese Country as Babe the Blue Ox is further to the west.


Not far north of Williams Cheese Company is the Pinconning Branch of the Bay County Library System. It is an inviting oasis with friendly staff and a living room type arrangement at equipped with armchairs, good lamps, and a wide selection of periodicals and newspapers.

Internet access is available for youth and adults and the local selection of book titles is commendable. The library is an anchor point for the town, with a Bay City bus stop out front, and the Post Office, other government and social agencies, and shops in the rear in a small complex.

The library is at 218 S. Kaiser Street at the intersection of W. 4th Street, just of M-13 and one block north of 5th Street, which becomes E. Pinconning Road that leads to the Pinconning Park less than 2 miles away.

Williams Cheese and Fun

show route and directions
A markerWilliams Cheese Company -
998 N Huron Rd, Linwood, MI 48634, USA
get directions

B markerPinconning Library Branch -
218 S Kaiser St, Pinconning, MI 48650, USA
get directions

C markerBay County Pinconning Park -
3041 E Pinconning Rd, Pinconning, MI 48650, USA
get directions

The Pinconning Cheese Co. and Fudge Shoppe

Pinconning Cheese Co. faces M-13 at 221 N. Mable Street (M-13) in Pinconning MI, just about 500 feet north and on the opposite side of the road from the smaller Wilson Cheese Company (see below).

This large cheese and fudge shop offers Pinconning cheese, along with a large number of other products like specialty meats, snacks, a gift shop, and a cafe for specialty sandwiches, pickled bologna, and their World Famous Pizza Loaves.

Some other items include:

  • Smoked Fresh Water Fish
  • Venison Sausage and specialty jerky treats (turkey and other game), Spiral Cut Hams
  • Gift Boxes - cheeses, fudge, and meats
  • Homemade Amish Pasta
  • Homemade Fudge, Candies, Jams & Jellies
  • SAUCES: Hot Sauces, Salsas, BBQs. The hottest may be the Pinconning Paralyzer.
  • Gourmet Coffees
  • Pinconning Honey and Maple Syrup
  • Specialty pickles, olives, mustards

Cheese Highway

M-13 Cheese Shops

show route and directions
A markerWilliams Cheese Co. -
998 N Huron Rd, Linwood, MI 48634, USA
get directions

B markerWilson Cheese Shoppe -
130 M-13, Pinconning, MI 48650, USA
get directions

C markerPinconning Cheese Co. and Fudge Shoppe -
221 N Mable St, Pinconning, MI 48650, USA
get directions

Wilson Cheese Company, Since 1939

The Wilson Cheese Shop at 130 N. Mable Street is the oldest cheese shop in Michigan. Becoming popular with the rise of the state highway system and the emerging travel fad of meat and cheese shops, Wilson's has been visited by thousands of travelers since it opened in 1939.

Wilson's is still well known today for its Pinconning cheese, as are the Williams Cheese Company and the Pinconning Cheese Co. and Fudge Shoppe. Wilson's carries a line of numerous other cheesees in addition to its Pinconning brand and offers a range of gourmet specialty and gifts items. The staff will make up cheese trays to your liking for parties an dgifts as well.

The service in the shop is friendly and the gift area of this store is larger than that of Willliams. The gift shop features T-shirts, hats, plaques, picture post cards, calendars, mugs, stuffed animals, novelties, maps, area guidebooks, and a number of other popular items.

Michigan State Highway M-13 -- The Cheese Highway

show route and directions
A markerBay City MI -
Bay City, MI, USA
get directions

B markerLinwood MI -
Linwood, MI, USA
get directions

C markerPinconning MI -
Pinconning, MI, USA
get directions

© 2010 Patty Inglish


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    • vickymom64 profile image

      vickymom64 7 years ago from Westmorland Ca

      I've nrver been to Michigan now i wanta go get all those yummy cheeses. Excellent hub!

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 7 years ago from Augusta, GA

      To say I love cheese is an understatement. I think I'm addicted to stuff and I can't get enough of it. If I ever venture up that way, I'll be sure to look for the Wilson Cheese Company!

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 7 years ago from Maryland

      Cheese is my one weakness. I just love it. I've got to visit Cheesetown for sure.

    • LeanMan profile image

      Tony 7 years ago from At the Gemba

      At least with the maps you will not have to use your nose to find your way there...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      Thanks Denise and soni2006! I'm taking pictures on my next visit. I love these cheese shops and expecially Williams. It's always there and changes only with little improvements, so it kind of feels like home.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Patty, you deserved the win. Congratulations. Best of luck for more. I liked your hub and also voted.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! Nostalgia...I'm a Michigander and I remember this place. Great hub...makes me homesick. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      They have online ordering, but it's more fun to go in!

      Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 7 years ago from USA

      We've been there several time. My husband loves the Sharp Piconning cheese and you can buy it much cheaper there than the stores. Too bad that we are 3 1/2 hours away though. He'd like to drive up there in the near future.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Sounds a great product and a great place.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      very nice Hub! Hub Marks the Spot!

    • profile image

      BenjaminB 7 years ago

      Cheese,a world without it would be a world of dire straits.These types of shops like The Williams Shop are prevalent throughout the mid west,and for that I am thankful.Just 20 miles from where I live there is a small operation people drive from all over to visit called Able's Cheese.It's one of the few remaining businesses that are still able to survive and keep that down home feel about them,where stopping by can drift you back to childhood memories.No doubt about it if I ever get the chance to be in that area I'll be keeping my eye out for the shop you so eloquently recommend.

    • humagaia profile image

      Charles Fox 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      If I am ever in the vicinity............

    • HudeieG profile image

      HudeieG 7 years ago from The land of love of happiness.

      i MUST visit!