If you’ve dreamed about having your own business and you love food, consider opening a shop that sells what you love. If you happen to love cheese, maybe a cheese shop is the thing for you.
With any business, you need to start with a plan. Here are some things to consider if you want to open a cheese shop.
- Determine if there is a demand for your cheese shop. A cheese shop caters to a niche market so you need to make sure there will be a market for your products. Perhaps you feel like your local deli or supermarket offerings are quite limited.
- Find a good location. Real estate is key in the success of your business. You want heavy foot traffic in an upscale neighborhood. Find a rental space that is accessible to the market you are catering to. Make sure there is ample parking. It will help to have other stores that cater to a similar market, such as a wine store or other upscale boutiques. No matter how good your product is, if you do not make it accessible to the right people, it will not sell. You may need to pay a premium for your location.
- Arrange for the financing of your business. You need to generate capital to start your business. You need enough money to cover the deposit of your lease, to buy equipment such as refrigeration, storage and display equipment, inventory, as well as operating costs for your first six months. Draw up a sound business plan before going to the banks if you are getting a business loan. If you cannot get a business loan, think about personal loans, getting a home equity line, liquidating your personal assets or getting a business partner to finance your venture.
- Get educated before you start. Know everything you need to know about cheese from books, the Internet, other people and anyone already in the business. Aside from the different varieties, understand storage requirements, what pairings go well with it and the different nuances of each type. There may be seminars in the area that will help you get started. Go to other cheese shops and take the tour.
- Find suppliers for your inventory. It’s best to get from more than one source so your inventory will not be dependent on one vendor. Read the packaging labels of cheeses you like and contact the distributor. Check the Internet for sourcing. You may also need to travel and see if there are special cheeses you would like to bring into the country. Once you develop a relationship with your supplier, you will be able to establish credit lines with them. Purchase a minimal amount for your initial inventory. You don’t want to tie up your capital with slow moving products and deal with spoilage. You will see trends in your market once you open and order accordingly.
- Carry complementary products. Diversify your product line so you have several items to offer a client. Aside from your wide array of cheeses, consider selling wine or specific breads or pasta products. Perhaps you can also sell tools such as a cheese slicer, graters and other items specific to cheese.
Once you are ready to open, advertise your store. Leave flyers or take an ad in the local paper. Make sure you have a prominent sign to attract customers. Develop your marketing and promotional strategies to stay competitive. Establish yourself in your niche market and you will succeed!