Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1061591

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Page 56 of 127

bring only four to six cheeses—all small- production and domestic—and a similar number of cured meats to each market. "At first we went out with guns loaded," says Mike. "We would have seven to nine cheeses and the same amount of charcuterie and shoppers would look like deer in the headlights. With too many items, there's the paralysis of decision." They bring no condiments, crackers, or other cheese accompaniments, preferring to leave those sales to other market vendors. "If we put those things out, we'd have to sample them, too, and there are only two of us," says Jenny. Adapting to Clientele Some locations draw well-traveled shoppers who appreciate rare finds and stinky cheeses; other markets lure more tourists and call for more approachable, crowd-pleasing selec- tions. Understanding and adapting to each market's personality has helped sales grow, says Jenny, whose background includes a stint at Murray's in New York City. "We don't have four walls, but we look at ourselves as a retail shop," she says. "Presentation is important." All the cheeses are hand-wrapped and labeled with descrip- tions and pairing notes. Samples are dis- pensed from slate trays that rest on ice. The Eastwoods buy about one-third of their inventory from distributors and the rest direct from small creameries such as Moonside A brick-and-mortar shop may be what many cheese-loving entrepreneurs aspire to own, but it's not for everyone. In recent years, a few creative would-be retailers have found new ways to sell. They are bringing specialty cheese to alternative venues where it doesn't normally go and developing retail models that don't require a huge upfront investment. Their experiences may inspire others to think about peddling cheese beyond the four walls of a traditional shop. "The hardest part of retail is getting people in your store," says Mike Eastwood, who, with his wife, Jenny, launched a farmers market-focused cheese business three years ago. "We are bringing our products to where the people are." Smallgoods, their novel enterprise, offers a collection of cut-and-wrapped cheeses at five San Diego-area farmers markets year-round. One of these markets, San Diego's largest, occupies six streets and may see 15,000 shoppers on a good day. Working out of a rented commercial kitchen where they store their inventory, the Eastwoods PHOTO: SMALLGOODS PHOTO: SMALLGOODS Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 2031 54 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com cheese focus

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