You Have To Use Your Imagination, But This Building Site WILL Become A Cheese Shop!
The Work Progresses
As I write, building work continues on our new premises, just down the road and across the river at 1 Station Rd, Bovey Tracey. The building, which for almost 80 years was home to Bovey Handloom Weavers, has been extensively altered and enlarged on the ground floor to create space for a cold store, packing room and shop. You can see some of this work happening in the pictures above.
With flood resilience in mind (yes, it could flood!) a concrete floor has gone in, together with one-way valves on all drains, and electrics will all come down from the ceiling. Skylights, big windows, glass doors and a glazed partition will allow as much light into the space as possible. We’re trying to make it a practical place to work, but also a pleasant one. Light and space are also nice for visitors.
What was originally several different spaces on the ground floor has now been knocked through into one, so that you can see all the way from the front to the back. Walls have been clad so that they're easy to clean, and the electricians are busy putting in lighting and galvanised trunking for the electrics. As I write, more concrete is going in to create a floor for the rear cold store. What a lot of work!
Phase Two: The Shop
It’s been a long-standing ambition to move from being mail order only to having an actual bricks-and-mortar shop as well. No. 1 Station Rd finally gives us the chance to do this, and both the physical space and the location will, we think, help us to make it work.
Physically, it’s just bigger - a shop is possible in a way that it hasn’t been in our current premises. The position’s good too, though. It’s right opposite the town’s main car park, for one thing. Lots of people come to visit Devon Guild of Craftsmen, the popular Café 3 Sixty, to visit the park or to use the cycle track to Lustleigh. A new community hub is being built by the Town Council just over the road - so all in all, it’s quite a busy part of town, and I think a lot of people will spot us.
It should also be quite an exciting shop - something very different to what people have seen before, certainly around here. Because the shop will be chilled at around 10-12°, making it essentially one big cheese store. Most cheeses will be able to sit on open shelves, or directly on the counter, rather than being imprisoned behind glass and plastic as in a typical deli situation. That means that the amazing visual properties of cheese (shape, colour, texture) can be enjoyed in a way that's generally impossible. The photos below - from Holland, Spain and Italy - offer an idea of what it should be like.
We’ll be able to focus in on a selected group of cheeses - and if we invite people to taste (which we will) it should be possible to generate enthusiasm for some products we love, but which don’t always get noticed on the website.
The shop feels to us like the missing ingredient in The Cheese Shed. It’s great to be sending cheese around the country, and we’ll carry on doing that, but I think we also need to be a real place which you can walk into and buy cheese - whether you’re local to us or visiting the area. It’s the year we go from 2D to 3D, from black and white into colour.
We aim to move our existing business down there at Easter. Work on the outside of the building (re-rendering, a new awning, painting and sign painting) and fitting out the shop will follow. With a fair wind the shop should be open in the summer. Watch this space for details. And of course we hope to see you there at some point!