Valley Queen Cheese Celebrates 90 Years

August 6, 2019

Paulsen client Valley Queen Cheese recently held a week of festivities celebrating the company’s 90th year in business! Account Specialist Allyse Steffen attended the industry and stakeholder banquet.

“The main speaker at the event was V.J. Smith, author of The Richest Man in Town,” Steffen says. “The topic was gratitude, and the series of anniversary events focused on Valley Queen’s gratitude to everyone.”

“Both Rudy Nef and Max Gonzenbach spoke about the company’s history and future,” she says. “They shared how the company was originally built on trust, which has been a key value of Valley Queen ever since,” she added. “It shows in the way the company works with dairy producers, buyers, key stakeholders and employees.”

Valley Queen was founded by Alfred Nef and Alfred Gonzenbach (Rudy and Max are their sons). They were two Swiss immigrants who shared a love of cheese making.

The pair decided to make Milbank, South Dakota, the site of Valley Queen Cheese Factory. Alfred Gonzenbach had been making his way to Montana to search for an ideal cheese plant site, and happened to stop for gas in Milbank. His visit was short, but he didn’t travel any further west. Instead, he decided to head back to Wisconsin, grab his business partner and move their business and families to South Dakota.

Much has changed since the Alfreds opened Valley Queen Cheese Factory in 1929. The company has grown, modernized and taken a leadership role in the U.S. cheese industry. The product portfolio has expanded dramatically. And the company has touched the lives of countless employees and their families and Milbank area residents.

Paulsen recently worked with Valley Queen to develop a Heritage Center that shares the history of the company and the Nef and Gonzenbach families.

“I think over the next 90 years, we’ll see just as much growth and evolution in the company as we saw in the first 90,” Steffen says. “The faces will be different and the products will be different, but the focus on trust and community will continue to drive Valley Queen forward as a leader in the industry.”

Congratulations Valley Queen Cheese on your 90th anniversary, and cheers to the next 90!

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