Swiss Cheese, ~6-9# $/#
Bob Laubscher has been associated with the “Cheese Business” most of his adult life. He was born and raised on a farm in Iowa, and moved to Ohio with his father and brothers when he was in his teens. He first worked on several farms in the area. Then he decided to try something different, and went to work on Broad Run Dairy and learned the trade of making swiss cheese from Ernie Mueller. Back then this was done in copper kettles and not automated like it is today. It was hard work and took strong muscles to handle the big wheels. Next, he worked with Fred Schneiter at Sugar-Creek Dairy. From there he spent 4 years in the service and was overseas during World War II, participating in Invasion Day at Omaha Beach. When he was discharged from the army, he wasn’t sure he wanted to go back to a cheese factory. He worked briefly at Timken in Canton until they went on strike. so then he tried his luck at wheeling brick at Finzer Brothers and mining coal at Donald Finzer’s mine. After a short time at each job he decided that wasn’t his line of work. So he went back to cheese making and Jake Sauser employed him at Pleasant View Dairy. From there he went to work in Champion Dairy in Rogersville for Heman and Alex Winkleman. Next, he was at Farmerstown Cheese with Clarence Buchs. Also he washed cheese for several factories in the evening. He was quite proficient at that job, being able to do 100 wheels in an hour. It consisted of taking each wheel out of the shelf, washing the rind with a wet cloth and salt, turning it over and doing the other sides with a wet cloth and salt, turning it over doing the same to the other side and putting it back in the shelf.
In 1952 some bankers from Mercer, Pa came to the Sugarcreek area looking for a cheese maker to run a fairly new plant which had run into financial problems. So Bob consented to take over Fairview Swiss Cheese. He persuaded a friend, Mr. Beechy, from Sugarcreek to make the move also and work for him. The operation proved to be very successful.
After 5 years of cheese making he decided to go into the wholesale business. So in 1957, Laubscher Cheese Company came into being. Starting from scratch, he worked long hours to get customers, cut and package the cheese and deliver the product. His wife and three daughters helped in the operation. When he acquired Swift and Armour branches as accounts it gave the business a big boost. Each year sales increased and domestic and imported cheese of all kinds were handled.
At 65, Bob retired and son-in-law, Gary Watts took over as manager and President of the company. Bob still went to the plant everyday to keep an eye on things. He also judged cheese every year for the Ohio State Fair. Mr. Bob Laubscher passed away June 17, 2008. He will be forever loved and remembered by his family and friends, as the company continues to operate under the same hard working and honest ethics as it has been from the begining when he first began.
Today, the business is under the able management of son-in-law Kent McQuaid, president and grandson, Kevin Watts, vice president. It is a thriving operation with 40 employees working in the cutting room, shredding room, truck drivers, truck mechanics, and office personnel. Also there are brokers associated with sales. They wholesale 20 million pounds of cheese a year including all kinds of domestic and imported varieties. They process 125,000 pounds of swiss a week in cuts and shreds, which amount to 3 truckloads. Much is purchased from Sugarcreek area factories, as well as other states and countries. There are 9 tractor trailers, 1 straight truck and 1 pickup used in the distributing in 17 states from New Hampshire down all of the east coast and as far south as Tennessee and as far west as Wisconsin.
This year marks 52 years of success of Laubscher Cheese Company and its founder Bob Laubscher.