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The Best Cheeses of the World, Here in Lancaster County…

If you are a discerning lover of food, the final stop in your quest for the finest in cheese is located at the Town Clock Cheese Shoppe in Gap.

At the Town Clock, “fromager” Bill Houder “holds court” for each of his valued customers…providing suggestions and taste samples as they “judge” which cheese best suits their preferences.

Like his father and grandfather, Bill is a “cheeseman” that loves sharing his passion for the family cheese business that he carries on after 80+ years.

With display cases that are filled with local, domestic, and imported selections…your hopes for service and expectations for quality will be exceeded.

This is one of Lancaster County’s most loved hidden gems…once discovered, appreciative customers return again and again….not just for the great cheese but also for the experience of shopping for the best in cheese.

Collage of Town Clock Cheese Shop's Products

Contact Us!

Phone: (717) 442-9090
Address: 5381 Bridge Street P.O. Box 38 Gap, PA 17527
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Collage of Town Clock Cheese Shop's Products
3:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Good Friday, Ascension Day, and Other Christian Holidays


Town Clock Cheese Shop's Building Exterior


The genesis of the Town Clock Cheese Shoppe goes way back to Lancaster cheese broker J.P. Kirchner & Son, his great grandfather and grandfather on his mother’s side. After Marie Kirchner of Lancaster married John Houder of Atglen, he became a cheeseman too, following in his in-laws’ footsteps.  This is the story of how John’s son, Bill Houder, eventually got his start as a cheese monger.  Bill’s earliest memory of being in the cheese business goes back to when he was 7 or 8, when he carried  a Limburger box, making delivers…Bill remembers, “I was always eagerly received by the German ladies who loved their Limburger.”  After years in the cheese business as a wholesaler and distributor, selling cheese to many of Lancaster’s most notable restaurants, country clubs and caterers, Bill and his wife Judy decided to open the Town Clock Cheese Shoppe so that they could share their cheese with everyone who stops by.  Since opening in 2004, the Shoppe has developed a loyal following of diehard cheese lovers…with people traveling from far and wide for their favorite cheeses.

The first and most important thing that Bill Houder will tell you about cheese is that it is “to be enjoyed…slowly!”  His Shoppe is not a fast food stop…everyone who stops by is afforded an educational and tasting experience.  Your options and choices are wide open at the Town Clock Cheese Shoppe.

The Town Clock’s cases are lined with a variety of imported cheeses from Spain, France, Holland, England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, as well as other countries.  Closer to home, there are domestic cheeses from all over the United States, including Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, Vermont and New York.  And from the farms of Lancaster County, there are a number of local high quality cheese selections.

If you like variety, you will thrill at the assortment of cheese that are available…from delicate cremes like Brie and D’Affinois to strong aged Cheddar and pungent Limburger.  Bill happily serves as your guide into the wonderful world of cheese…making suggestions and recommendations that ensure you cheese purchase exceeds your expectations.

Domestic cheeses include Maytag Bleu, Cheddar, Sharp, Farmers, Feta, Mozzarella, Fontiago, Longhorn, Muenster, Provolone, Parmesan, and American, along with favorite spreads such as Horseradish and Port Wine.

Imported selections are equally amazing…Abbeydale, Asiagio, Edam, Feta, and Bleus such as Roquefort, Cabareles and Stilton. There are Boursin, Gouda, Havarti, Buffalo Mozzarella, Limburger, Locatelli Romano, Manchego, Chevre and Provolone.  Swiss cheeses include Emmenthaler, Fontina, Gruyere, Jarlsberg and Madrigal. Cheddars feature Colliers, Malt Whiskey, Old Quebec and Tipperary.

“When it comes to cheese, there are no rules. You like what you like,” says Bill Houder, preeminent fromager.

The Gap Town Clock, which is a well-known landmark along Route 41, has a colorful history. The clock face and works were purchased by a group of Gap citizens in 1871 for a little over $400 and the clock face was a fixed on top of Penn Monument Hall, which houses the Town Clock Cheese Shoppe.  In 1887, the lodge that occupied Penn Monument Hall could not afford to pay taxes on the building and it was scheduled for sheriff’s sale.  Fearing that  the clock would be lost, as the story goes, Gap residents entered the building one night and removed the clock. They hid it in a local icehouse until 1892, when a group built the tower in which the clock resides today.  Originally, the tower was located on land donated by the Isaac Walker family and was leased for 50 years at two cents per day. The clock remained on the Walker property until 1953, when the state made plans to widen Route 41 and determined that the clock stood in the way of the project. In response, the Gap Clock Tower Association was organized and the clock was moved to its present location on land donated by Howard and Elsie Rutter.