Specialty Cheese Company is headquartered at a former high school in Reeseville, Wisc., population 679.
The company is innovative in its growth and accommodating employees. Ten individuals are paid to drive staff from surrounding communities to work every day. The business is expanding, building a new child care facility for employees as well as local residents.
The company grew from humble origins. In 1991, Paul Scharfman purchased five old cheese factories dating back to the 1860s. The early years were tough, as Scharfman staved off bankruptcy until eventually finding his footing. The company later outgrew the old factories and in 2003, purchased and converted the local high school into its headquarters. Losing a school is typically devastating to a rural town. It’s a point of pride that the company could breathe new life into the building and community.
In this episode of the rural business show, Scharfman talks about his journey building his company – from the time he was fired from Kraft Foods to owning a thriving rural business today.
He talks about why he chose to build his business in rural Wisconsin and the advantages that come with it. He shares the innovations that had to take place to build and grow the business. We discuss what policy makers need to know to help rural areas, and Scharfman provides important advice for aspiring rural entrepreneurs.