LONGMONT — “It may sound cheesy, but we like it that way,” or so say the actors in a contemporary TV commercial. And that could very well be the sentiment of the White family from Longmont, owners and operators of the Cheese Importers, a 46-year-old business at 103 N. Main St.
The Whites will be among six individuals or groups to be inducted into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame on Sept. 15. A luncheon from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel in Boulder, 2601 Canyon Blvd., will be held that day.
Cheese Importers, trade name for White Trading Corp., was started in 1976 by Lyman and Linda White after several attempts bringing to life their dreams of a natural food co-op and other enterprises. They chose Longmont as home in 1972 and started a new chapter that includes succeeding generations as well in the form of sons Samm and Sacha, and daughters Clara and Cybelle.
Cheese Importers has had multiple locations in Longmont, starting in the former Cannery building and now in what was the city’s electric power utility building, which the company bought in 2016.
Starting with just three varieties of cheese, the company now offers more than 500 types imported from Britain, France, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Italy, among other places.
The company attracts thousands of customers each year — 80,000 according to a city of Longmont estimate — many from out of town coming to the company as a destination stop.
It has wholesale as well as retail operations, with buyers that include major grocery chains seeking to stock their own shelves with specialty cheeses. Clara handles wholesale sales; Samm is retail sales manager.
The company offers more than cheese, with a gift shop and French boutique cafe among its offerings. The retail space is called LaFromagerie.
Lyman White was killed in a car accident in 2010, but the family has continued on to operate one of Longmont’s most iconic businesses. Individual tickets are available for $65 with tables of eight available for $520.