by Nina Polien Light
Randy L. McKee photo.
Going to the grocery store has always been an adventure at Walnut Creek Cheese, the Holmes County institution that boasts value-oriented service, quality products and historic charm. And now there is even more to experience.
“We finally branched out and launched our own doughnut line for retail for every day of the week,” store manager Dennis Schlabach said, explaining the store previously offered the deep-fried pastries on Tuesday mornings only.
At least a dozen varieties are available from the in-store bakery, ranging from a traditional glazed doughnut to cinnamon caramel, cream sticks and apple fritters. Fans of fry pies, scratch-made cinnamon rolls and English muffin bread need not despair; these favorites are here to stay.
New to The Cannery section are bulk oils and vinegars, imported from Greece. While there, check out the more than 75 varieties of locally made jams and jellies.
Walnut Creek Cheese’s impressive deli is getting a facelift. Two deli cases and a salad display case were installed in early spring. The latter features a wider variety of prepared salads. The deli will continue to offer 75 choices of meat and 50 varieties of cheese, many made locally.
Also getting a new look is the Butter Churn kitchen section.
“The 80-foot gadget wall will extend to close to 100 feet,” Schlabach said. “We’re redoing the layout and getting a modernized greeting card section as well.”
Purists will appreciate that most of Walnut Creek Cheese’s inventory and all of its charm remain untouched. Folks will still find the freshest fruits and vegetables available in the produce section. During the growing season, most produce is locally sourced. Spring means the return of cooking classes (check the website for topics and times), and, of course, no visit to Walnut Creek Cheese would be complete without venturing upstairs to the Mudd Valley Café to grab a specialty sandwich, burger, slice of pie, gourmet milkshake or scoop of Mudd Valley Custard.
“There’s seating on the balcony, so you can sit in a booth and look down over the store and watch people for hours,” Schlabach said.
And that is what makes shopping at Walnut Creek Cheese such an adventure: It is about atmosphere as much as it is about stocking up on eggs, noodles, bulk gummy bears or fresh pork loin. The décor captures the essence of Holmes County’s history. Schlabach said visitors frequently spend several hours walking through the store to look at the many antiques.
Turning to local sources whenever possible for produce, meats, cheeses, canned goods and other products means Walnut Creek Cheese saves on freight costs, and those savings are reflected in the store’s competitive prices.
Owner Mark Coblentz insists all of the company’s 175 employees operate on three core values: respect, stewardship and growth.
“We treat others as we want to be treated,” Schlabach explained. “Internally we respect one another, and that reflects on how we interact with our customers.”
Walnut Creek Cheese is located at 2641 SR 39 in Walnut Creek, 330-852-2888. Visit WalnutCreekCheese.com for hours and more information. Find the store on Facebook under the same name. A second location is at 4727 US 62 in Berlin, 330-893-3273.