DISCOVER OUR STORY

A cheese love affair since 1828

  1. 1828

    Fred Kolb arrived in US
    1828
    Fred Kolb arrived in US
    _
    At age 25, Fred Kolb begins his lifelong love affair with cheesemaking when he emigrates to the US for the promise of a job at the Muscatine French Cheese Company.
  2. 1925

    The launch of Lena Cheese dairy
    1925
    The launch of Lena Cheese dairy
    _
    After moving his family to the quaint rural town of Lena, Illinois, Fred Kolb launches Lena Cheese Company with an army of dairy farmers.
  3. 1929

    Frieda kolb and Karl Renter’s wedding
    1929
    Frieda kolb and Karl Renter’s wedding
    _
    Fred’s daughter, Freida Kolb, marries family friend, Karl Renter, and they develop new ideas about cheesemaking after visiting relatives in his home country of Germany.
  4. 1933

    Dorothy’s birth
    1933
    Dorothy’s birth
    _
    Dorothy, the only child of Karl and Freida Renter is born.
  5. 1936

    The Kolbs incorporate Kolb-Lena Cheese Company
    1936
    The Kolbs incorporate Kolb-Lena Cheese Company
    _
    The Kolbs incorporate Kolb-Lena Cheese Company, and Dorothy and other children work in the plant before and after school.
  6. 1944

    The new beginning
    1944
    The new beginning
    _
    Fred Kolb passes away, and Karl and Freida give Kolb-Lena Cheese Company the steam it needs to carry on.
  7. 1953

    Dorothy’s graduation from Iowa State University
    1953
    Dorothy’s graduation from Iowa State University
    _
    Dorothy Renter becomes the first female graduate from the Dairy Industry Department of Iowa State University.
  8. 1954

    Dorothy and James Demeter union
    1954
    Dorothy and James Demeter union
    _
    Dorothy marries fellow classmate and Greek Fulbright scholar, James Demeter, and together they breathe new life into Kolb-Lena Cheese Company, creating their own Baby Swiss.
  9. 1970

    Kolb Lena joins with Modern Foods
    1970
    Kolb Lena joins with Modern Foods
    _
    After a period of mergers, Kolb-Lena joins with Modern Foods before being taken over by Katy Industries who supports Dorothy’s desire for a new, modern plant.
  10. 1983

    The launch of the new Kolb Lena plant
    1983
    The launch of the new Kolb Lena plant
    _
    The Demeters announce the opening of the new Kolb-Lena plant on a 40-acre farm in Lena, which is sold to the French Bongrain Division in 1987.
  11. 1984

    Grand champion of Illinois State Fair
    1984
    Grand champion of Illinois State Fair
    _
    Became grand champion of Baby swiss cheese.
  12. 2001

    James Demeter death
    2001
    James Demeter death
    _
    James Demeter passes away, and Kolb-Lena continues to operate under Bongrain USA, becoming the largest user of goat milk in the country.
  13. 2017

    The renew of Kolb Lena with Dorothy’s Cheese
    2017
    The renew of Kolb Lena with Dorothy’s Cheese
    _
    Kolb-Lena and Dorothy’s continue to play an important role in the economy with specialty cheeses that continue the traditions started by the Kolb, Renter, and Demeter families.

DISCOVER OUR STORY

A cheese love affair since 1828

  1. 1828

    Fred Kolb arrived in US
    1828
    Fred Kolb arrived in US
    _
    At age 25, Fred Kolb begins his lifelong love affair with cheesemaking when he emigrates to the US for the promise of a job at the Muscatine French Cheese Company.
  2. 1925

    The launch of Lena Cheese dairy
    1925
    The launch of Lena Cheese dairy
    _
    After moving his family to the quaint rural town of Lena, Illinois, Fred Kolb launches Lena Cheese Company with an army of dairy farmers.
  3. 1929

    Frieda kolb and Karl Renter’s wedding
    1929
    Frieda kolb and Karl Renter’s wedding
    _
    Fred’s daughter, Freida Kolb, marries family friend, Karl Renter, and they develop new ideas about cheesemaking after visiting relatives in his home country of Germany.
  4. 1933

    Dorothy’s birth
    1933
    Dorothy’s birth
    _
    Dorothy, the only child of Karl and Freida Renter is born.
  5. 1936

    The Kolbs incorporate Kolb-Lena Cheese Company
    1936
    The Kolbs incorporate Kolb-Lena Cheese Company
    _
    The Kolbs incorporate Kolb-Lena Cheese Company, and Dorothy and other children work in the plant before and after school.
  6. 1944

    The new beginning
    1944
    The new beginning
    _
    Fred Kolb passes away, and Karl and Freida give Kolb-Lena Cheese Company the steam it needs to carry on.
  7. 1953

    Dorothy’s graduation from Iowa State University
    1953
    Dorothy’s graduation from Iowa State University
    _
    Dorothy Renter becomes the first female graduate from the Dairy Industry Department of Iowa State University.
  8. 1954

    Dorothy and James Demeter union
    1954
    Dorothy and James Demeter union
    _
    Dorothy marries fellow classmate and Greek Fulbright scholar, James Demeter, and together they breathe new life into Kolb-Lena Cheese Company, creating their own Baby Swiss.
  9. 1970

    Kolb Lena joins with Modern Foods
    1970
    Kolb Lena joins with Modern Foods
    _
    After a period of mergers, Kolb-Lena joins with Modern Foods before being taken over by Katy Industries who supports Dorothy’s desire for a new, modern plant.
  10. 1983

    The launch of the new Kolb Lena plant
    1983
    The launch of the new Kolb Lena plant
    _
    The Demeters announce the opening of the new Kolb-Lena plant on a 40-acre farm in Lena, which is sold to the French Bongrain Division in 1987.
  11. 1984

    Grand champion of Illinois State Fair
    1984
    Grand champion of Illinois State Fair
    _
    Became grand champion of Baby swiss cheese.
  12. 2001

    James Demeter death
    2001
    James Demeter death
    _
    James Demeter passes away, and Kolb-Lena continues to operate under Bongrain USA, becoming the largest user of goat milk in the country.
  13. 2017

    The renew of Kolb Lena with Dorothy’s Cheese
    2017
    The renew of Kolb Lena with Dorothy’s Cheese
    _
    Kolb-Lena and Dorothy’s continue to play an important role in the economy with specialty cheeses that continue the traditions started by the Kolb, Renter, and Demeter families.