When the idea of opening a cheese shop originally popped into my head, I honestly had no idea what my first step should be. What I should research first — Location? Financials? I had no idea. I knew I wanted to feature Ohio cheeses but nothing beyond that. Then, I had an epiphany. I realized that if any of the Ohio creameries that I wanted to promote/stock weren’t 100% behind my idea, my shop would fail before it even got off the ground.
That is when I began contacting my favorite Ohio cheese makers, notifying them of my idea and asking for feedback. After speaking with each one, I not only knew that I was on the right path, not one told me to reverse course, but I also heard some honest feedback/advice.
It was a great back and forth, allowing me to build great relationships. I was on my way.
As I became more and more serious about the cheese shop, realizing this was my future, I wanted to show these wonderful cheese makers that I planned on seeing this concept through to the end. I didn’t want them believing that I was simply “playing around” and would eventually move on to the next idea. I didn’t want to give them false hope or string them along. I truly believed, and still do, that opening a cheese shop is what I am meant to be doing and I wanted these cheese makers to realize that. That is when I created Founding Partners.
The Founding Partners program was created as a way to reward these certain Ohio cheese makers who, without any hesitation, said they would support and stock my shop prior to even having a physical location. They have given me great advice along the way and have helped propel me to where I am, even, when at times, I thought this idea was bound to fall apart. Because of their unwavering support, I wanted to create this special program that would specifically benefit the cheese maker by featuring them hand in hand with the shop. They have stuck their neck out for me; I wanted to do the same for them.
The creameries that I will be stocking once the cheese shop opens are as follows:
- Blue Jacket Dairy
- Kokoborrego Cheese
- Lake Erie Creamery
- Mackenzie Creamery
- Mayfield Road Creamery
- Yellow House Cheese
Please keep in mind that these are the main 6 creameries I will continually carry. I hope to carry many other Ohio cheese makers as the shop opens and continues to grow.
In addition to carrying Ohio cheeses, I will be stocking many other great Ohio products. (If you have any suggestions, please let me know via the comment section below.) Black Radish Creamery, who makes wonderful fruit preserves, jellies and butters, has been extremely forthcoming with advice and suggestions for the shop. As is the case with the 6 cheese makers listed above, Black Radish Creamery, without hesitation, will be supporting the shop once it opens.
Because of all of these wonderful people, and many, many others, my future looks bright. This shop’s future looks bright.
If you haven’t read my Cleveland Scene article, Grilled Cheese Cookbook Author Shane Kearns Hopes to Open Local Cheese Shop, you really should.