History of


  • 1 first central wrap building and plymouth cheese counter on eastern avenue behind gentine funeral home april 28 1966 w750
  • 1 gentine carriage house w750

In 1949, Leonard Gentine opened a cheese store in a small carriage house in Plymouth, Wisconsin. He called it The Plymouth Cheese Counter. It was here that he noticed an increase in consumer demand for Italian-style cheeses. The opportunity to fulfill his community’s desires inspired him to approach his friend, Joe Sartori, and propose a partnership for a new business of selling Italian-style natural cheeses to nearby stores. The pair took the “Sar” from Sartori, the “Gent” from Gentine, added an “o” for a more Italian sound. Thus, in 1953, the Sargento Cheese Company was born. Initially, Sargento sold Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella, and Provolone cheeses, but that was only the beginning. A born innovator and a machinist by trade, Leonard Gentine invented the first vacuum-sealed cheese packages, the first packaged sliced cheese, and the first packaged shredded cheese in the country. 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 have followed, Sargento has grown from humble beginnings inside a carriage house to a leading brand that offers 100% real and natural cheese all across America. Adorning the walls of the Plymouth Arts Center, History of Sargento by artist Ray Guzman pays homage to the humble beginnings of Sargento Foods, Inc. Proud to be a part of the “cheese capital of the world,” Sargento Foods, Inc. sponsored History of Sargento.