In 1949, Leonard Gentine opened a modest cheese store in a small carriage house in Plymouth, Wisconsin. He called it The Plymouth Cheese Counter. It was here that he noticed an emerging demand for Italian-style cheeses. Seeing an opportunity to provide his community with something that was missing inspired him. Leonard approached his friend and neighbor, Joe Sartori, and convinced him to partner in a new business: selling Italian-style natural cheeses to nearby stores. The two men took the “Sar” from Sartori, the “Gent” from Gentine, added an “o” to sound Italian, and the Sargento Cheese Company was born in 1953.
Initially, they sold Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella and Provolone. But that was only the beginning. A born innovator and a machinist by trade, Leonard invented the first vacuum-sealed package of cheese, the first packaged sliced cheese and the first packaged shredded cheese in the country. Our relentless pursuit of innovation began with these Sargento breakthroughs.
In 1965, Joe Sartori sold his interest in the company to focus on his own cheese business. Sargento became and remains wholly-owned by the Gentine family. In the 50 years that followed, Sargento grew from our humble beginnings inside a carriage house, to a leading brand offering 100% real, natural cheese across America. Our way of thinking and dedication to quality have led the dairy industry, while giving people more ways to celebrate their love for real, natural cheese.