Fred Kolb arrived in US1898Fred 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.
The launch of Lena Cheese dairy1925The 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.
Frieda kolb and Karl Renter’s wedding1929Frieda 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.
Dorothy’s birth1933Dorothy’s birth_Dorothy, the only child of Karl and Freida Renter is born.
The Kolbs incorporate Kolb-Lena Cheese Company1936The 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.
The new beginning1944The new beginning_Fred Kolb passes away, and Karl and Freida give Kolb-Lena Cheese Company the steam it needs to carry on.
Dorothy’s graduation from Iowa State University1953Dorothy’s graduation from Iowa State University_Dorothy Renter becomes the first female graduate from the Dairy Industry Department of Iowa State University.
Dorothy and James Demeter union1954Dorothy 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.
Kolb Lena joins with Modern Foods1970Kolb 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.
The launch of the new Kolb Lena plant1983The 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.
Grand champion of Illinois State Fair1984Grand champion of Illinois State Fair_Became grand champion of Baby swiss cheese.
James Demeter death2001James 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.
The renew of Kolb Lena with Dorothy’s Cheese2017The 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.