Holt-Delhi Historical Society

Established 2014


Holt Dairy Company

Mr. Vernon Sheldon was the original owner of the Holt Dairy Company from the late 1930s through the mid-1940s. Mr. Sheldon did not sell the business, he simply went out of business. However, it soon re-launched with new ownership of local dairymen who united to open the second iteration of the Holt Dairy.

In 1946, the Holt Dairy was started up again by Bill Fudge, George Yonkers, Hastes Roggow, and Howard “Bud” Dart. The men had worked for the Sealtest Dairy in Lansing. Fudge, Yonkers, Roggow, and Dart left Sealtest and re-booted the Holt Dairy. When they first started they were located at 2165 North Cedar Street in Holt (at the corner of Cedar Street and North Street).

The new Holt Dairy sold pasteurized milk and cream. In 1947, Arvid “Art” Rehkopf bought out Bud Dart. In 1948, Hastes Roggow was bought out; in 1949, George Yonkers was bought out and moved to Coldwater, Michigan where he started a dairy.

The Holt Dairy originally purchased milk from about thirty-five farmers in the area. By 1959, there had been a big push to change from the traditional way of getting milk from the farm in cans. The new method of getting milk was using tankers. At this point Bill Fudge and Art Rehkopf were the proprietors. The men could not afford the cost of using tankers so they became distributors of Borden’s Dairy Products.

In the 1960s, they were forced to purchase milk from Michigan Milk Producers. From 1959 to 1969 the Holt Dairy distributed for Borden. The arrangement with Borden’s Dairy Products lasted until 1969, at which time Fudge and Rehkopf dissolved the partnership and closed the Holt Dairy.

Suburban Dairy

The Suburban Dairy was owned and operated by Clifford E. Hause. The Suburban Dairy bought milk from local farmers and sold it from their location on North Aurelius Road between Washington Road and Cedar Street. C.E. Hause started the dairy in 1928 in Holt. In 1931, Hause sold the dairy to the Parker Brothers. The Parkers continued the dairy in Holt.

Kahres Dairy Farm

The Kahres Dairy Farm was established in 1906 in northern Delhi Township, just south of Miller Road, by Henry and Meline Lenz Kahres. Edgewood Blvd. passes through the original dairy farm and the original family home stood where Panera Bread now operates on Cedar Street. 

After I-96 passed through the farmland in 1960, the City of Lansing annexed the North District (including the Kahres Dairy), and increased urbanization surrounded the farm, the Kahres sold off their land north of I-96 and moved their primary operation to west Delhi Township. 

The Kahres operation developed over the years onto 6 different farms. 

The Kahres Dairy managed the whole processing of milk from cow to customer. They produced different varieties of milk, cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, and more. They had a fleet of delivery trucks for home delivery and a dairy store on the Cedar Street farm. 

Kahres Road off West Holt Road was named for the family in 1968. In 1999, the Kahres Dairy Farm sold 157 acres to Holt Public Schools for the development of the new Holt High School on West Holt Road, which was built in 2000-2003. 

Please visit Kahres Collection for a full history of the Kahres Dairy Farm and the dairy collection. 

Smithers Dairy

The Smithers Dairy store sold pasteurized milk and operated in Holt from approximately 1939 through 1942. Charlie Smithers was the proprietor. The dairy store was located on Cedar Street in North Holt in the former building once occupied by Bob DeLoach's Furniture and later Hungry Howie's Pizza. 

Richards Dairy Stores

The Richards Dairy stores sold twenty-nine flavors of ice cream. They had locations in St. Johns, Mason, and Holt.