Dr. Cheryl Barnett, 50, Food Manufacturer CEO
No matter where pimento cheese dip was first concocted, it has found a home here in the South. And thanks to an orthodontist who retired early due to a back injury, it has found a home here in Greensboro.
In 2010, Dr. Cheryl Barnett was ready to start her second career as a “cheese lady.”
After experimenting for years to capture the flavor of a beloved friend’s pimento cheese, Cheryl has finally settled on a recipe. Her dream of having a little pimento cheese factory was about to come true.
“Honing my recipe was so much fun. I played with many different ingredients, especially spices. The key to delicious pimento cheese though is knowing the ratio of high quality cheese to mayonnaise. Obviously, the more cheese the better the flavor. The high cheese content in our pimento cheese is what sets our products apart. “
“In the beginning, when my boys were encouraging me to start the new business, it was more of a dare. To meet that challenge we hoped to sell the pimento cheese once a month at one of the local farmer markets. That didn’t happen because both of the farmer’s market were full and not accepting new vendors, so the rest happened by fate.”
On a whim, Cheryl, now 50, called Greensboro-based The Fresh Market about the possibility of bringing in a sample. After an interview and going through a tasting committee, My Three Sons Gourmet Pimento Cheese was born. It made its debut at The Fresh Market in October 2010. It sold out immediately!
“My product was born in Greensboro, it grew in Greensboro and has been supported by the Greensboro community. It was my success in Greensboro that enabled my distribution to expand to other cities and states.”
To grow My Three Sons Gourmet, Cheryl had to get out of her home kitchen. She found a home at the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship in Greensboro before graduating and settling into a permanent “pimento cheese factory” in Greensboro.
My Three Sons Gourmet now has eight employees and can be purchased in over 300 stores including The Fresh Market, Lowes Foods, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter all over the Southeast.