Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

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/139333

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Page 126 of 217

store snapshots large room at the back of the store functions as an event space, named Homestead. Events include Cheesemaking 101 and The Science of Cheese, as well as an array of pairing and tasting classes, from whiskey to wine. Non-cheese-focused topics, such as fermenting, come up as well. "I like the idea of being a social place, for people to come and eat, talk, learn and share," Kamin says. PHOTO: EVA MESZAROS Every grocery ofering is a subtle nod to cheese, the star product, giving the store an air of a one-stop shop for the perfect picnic lunch. on a pedestrian-heavy street, surrounded by our neighbors that we had started with," says co-owner Charlotte Kamin. "There was something sweet about it." Landlord troubles derailed those plans, so Kamin and her partners opted instead for a quieter side street farther south in the Gramercy neighhborhood—Irving Place, a stone's throw from Union Square. The new find was a positive change. "I saw a lot of the potential," Kamin recalls of discovering the space, which, at 5,000 square feet dwarfs the slight frame of the Brooklyn location's 600 square feet. Surrounded by mixed-use buildings, the new store would have the big-city access with a small-neighborhood feel. Product mix… While cheese takes center stage for this business, the roomy new store has allowed for expanded offerings in a welcoming setting. "I want to represent that old-school feeling of an old-fashioned neighborhood specialty store," Kamin says. A 15-foot cheese case runs along the back wall, its contents making up 60 percent of store sales, while three on-site aging facilities help deliver goods at peak quality. Professional cheesemongers man the counter with a friendly air, ready with suggestions and samples for inquiring customers. Each item is paired with a card indicating type, origin and a brief, colorful description from its impassioned writers along with suggested wine pairings. A wedge of Manteca is declared "the bacon of the cheese world"; a Spenwood, "the Jay-Z and Beyonce." The description accompanying a tomme Vaudoise reads "ripest when they smell like a petting zoo in spring." To bolster the inviting atmosphere and build community, a 110 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com Points of distinction… Despite the difference in footprint, Bedford Cheese Shop's two locations share the same product list. Every grocery offering is a subtle nod to cheese, the star product, giving the store an air of a one-stop shop for the perfect picnic lunch. Specialty jams, honey, caramel and crackers fill the shelves near the store's entrance, while shoppers will find gourmet condiments, pickles, pastas, oils and vinegars further in. Rounding out the offerings is a charcuterie counter, where customers can also pick up a daily sandwich special. To reinforce its positioning as a specialty store, Bedford Cheese has resisted expanding the prepared-food options. "This isn't a bodega," Kamin says. "It's not a deli." The variety of domestic and imported products shows that the business hasn't overindulged in the local-food trend either. "To me the local thing is not as important as quality and supporting the communities that are producing it, wherever it might be," Kamin explains. The cheese inventory is 70 percent imported varieties, while groceries offer a mixed bag. Brooklyn-made Anarchy in a Jar jam sits alongside Austrian import Staud's. Condiments feature plenty of area producers, such as Sir Kensington's Ketchup and Empire Mayonnaise, while oils and vinegars weigh in favor of imports, from Tondo balsamic to Castello di Volpaia extra-virgin olive oil. Adding more imported goods has been a benefit of the expansion; buying inventory for two stores, the business can now meet larger minimum orders for international shipments. These global offerings have lured in tourists, locals and European customers to both locations; in fact, the Williamsburg store has undergone a stark change in its patronage in recent years. Swift gentrification and waterfront, high-rise construction has shifted the demographic—and expanded the appeal—of the neighborhood. Interestingly, the original store's customer base has come to reflect the new location's, rather than the other way around. Purchases are equally varied. "Many customers come in to purchase single baguettes, in the $1.50 to $3.25 range," says general manager Chris Hanawalt. "But then the next customer can order several hundred dollars worth of catering platters." Slow and steady growth… Expansion has had its challenges, right from the decision to move to Manhattan. "It was a compromise between myself and my two partners," explains Kamin, who originally pushed to expand within Brooklyn. The draw of instant recognition and heavy foot traffic meant a Manhattan location won in the

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