When I originally decided to open a cheese shop, I believed I had it all figured out. I would feature Ohio cheeses while also stocking other domestic and international cheeses. I would also carry other products, a supporting cast so to speak. My focus, regardless of anything else though, would be local cheese.
Oh how things change. And evolve.
As I began researching my supporting cast, I discovered so many wonderful, local Cleveland products/brands. So many unique items, mainly food, that would be perfect on a shelf next to Ohio cheese.
Locally made bread/crackers.
Locally made pastries/confections.
Locally made hot sauces, jams, jellies, spreads, pestos, etc.
Locally made vegan items.
And so much more.
Yes, this shop is and will always have its focus on Ohio cheeses. That is my expertise and my passion. You didn’t already forget that I wrote a grilled cheese cookbook, did you?
However, this shop will be so much more than just cheese. The city of Cleveland, and, in turn, the State of Ohio, has so much to offer. This city is booming with pride and amazing entrepreneurs just waiting to be featured. “Local” and “buy local” are buzzwords that some use to attract business. Not me. “Local” is and will always be the driving force behind this shop. If it isn’t made within Ohio, I won’t stock it. If it is mass produced and I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I won’t stock it.
I have big plans for this shop. All of my hopes and dreams may not happen all at once, on day 1. But, trust me, I will see this through into something bigger and better than I could ever realize. I just hope you will join me on this ride…
Crowdfunding, Social Media & TV Appearance
In addition to traditional means of financing, I am also investigating the world of crowdfunding, whether it be Kickstarter or Indiegogo. (Which platform would you recommend?) I have started thinking about donation levels as well as corresponding rewards and would love your thoughts. Would you donate? How would you change the rewards, listed below? Let me know what you think in the comments. Keep in mind, for each donation, you receive all rewards from the preceding levels.
These levels/rewards are a work in progress and subject to change, per your suggestions.
- $5 – Personalized thank you card.
- $25 – A Cheese Shop TBNL Cheese Board (pickup or delivery, USA only)
- $50 – $25 gift card, & your name added to web site/founders board in shop
- $100 – Gift basket including 1 block of local cheese + 2 local food items + signed copy of my grilled cheese cookbook + A Cheese Shop TBNL Bag (pickup only)
- $250 – Invitation to special founder’s only cheese tasting event
- $500 – 1 year membership to A Cheese Shop TBNL VIP Club – 20% off all purchases, monthly email newsletter, special notice of any new items/sales, invitations to 2 special VIP events
- $1000 – Personal invitation to grand opening celebration, featuring meet and great with local cheese/food makers and samples of all food products (max 2 ppl)
- $2500 – A VIP event for you and 5 of your closest friends.
No, I have not yet chosen a name for the shop, but, I already have a Twitter account and now, a Facebook page. If you are local, or even if you aren’t, please like my page. Although I enjoy Twitter more than Facebook, it seems, these days, that having a Facebook page is a requirement of any business.
Finally, if you are in the Cleveland area and available this Tuesday between 10-11 am, tune your TV to FOX 8. I will be cooking some yummy grilled cheese sandwiches.