Since opening in 2010, provisions market and specialty cheese store Cheese Louise has been a staple of “Gourmand Row,” a food-centric stretch on Route 28 between Kingston and Woodstock. Along with imported, uncommon, and thrilling cheeses, the market is beloved for its ready antipasti gadgets like stuffed grape leaves, olives, cured meats like Italian prosciutto and mortadella, and caviar, in addition to deli counter staples like whitefish salad and made-to-order sandwiches. The multicolored wooden cabinets are full of dried items like pasta and crackers, preserves, baguettes, and goodies from native chocolatier Fruition.
In March 2023, the Hudson Valley establishment was taken over by Ari Alonso-Lubell, who has been a loyal buyer since he began visiting the realm about eight years in the past. Now a full-time Hudson Valley resident, the self-described “serial entrepreneur” says the brand new enterprise enterprise fell into his lap fairly by chance. “I used to be simply trying on Google for Cheese Louise-related issues, after which I noticed a hyperlink to an article about it being on the market,” he recollects.
Alonso-Lubell had no plans to purchase the shop at first, however the extra he considered it, the extra he realized he introduced a precious twin perspective to the shop, as each a buyer and a enterprise proprietor. “I really like Cheese Louise a lot, however like several enterprise you like, you additionally take into consideration the issues that you’d need to enhance about it,” he says. “So I noticed each a wonderful, superior place that folks love and likewise some issues that I might need to tweak about it.”
The principle tweak is not any small feat: It’s the opening of a second location in Rhinebeck, which was made doable by means of a equally serendipitous discovery. Shortly after buying Cheese Louise, Alonso-Lubell was in Rhinebeck. Strolling previous the constructing that briefly housed the Woodstock Meats pop-up and a butcher store earlier than that, he observed a “on the market” signal within the window and all of the outdated deli gear nonetheless inside. He referred to as the proprietor, and all the things got here collectively rapidly from there—Alonso-Lubell took over the lease on the finish of Could, and the shop was open by July.
Seeing Silver Linings
Alonso-Lubell has a pure inclination towards entrepreneurship, seeing alternatives the place others see challenges. He graduated faculty in 2019 and was residing in New York Metropolis when COVID-19 lockdowns shocked and shuttered the world. Residing in a COVID epicenter of the US, he watched carefully to see how eating places tailored: outside extensions of their current buildings, pop-ups, meals vans.
It was a irritating time for enterprise homeowners, however Alonso-Lubell additionally noticed potential. He got here up with the thought to open a grilled cheese meals truck, however as an alternative pivoted right into a enterprise outfitting the meals vans themselves. After that, he and his brother Miguel opened Courtroom Avenue Espresso and Books in Brooklyn, which his brother nonetheless manages. “The concept was to determine construct a neighborhood enterprise that’s worthwhile but in addition centered on the neighborhood,” Alonso-Lubell explains.
He continues to use this philosophy at each Cheese Louise storefronts, increasing choice whereas persevering with to domesticate a loyal buyer base. Below his possession, the Route 28 location has launched a freezer case with Kingston-made Jane’s ice cream, in addition to sausages and contemporary pastas.
The brand new location doesn’t have all the things the Route 28 one does but, however the Cheese Louise staff is making regular progress on bringing the Kingston location’s signature ready gadgets throughout the river. Alonso-Lubell sees the Rhinebeck retailer as extra of a boutique—much less choice however a extra intense deal with cheese. Whereas on the Route 28 location most prospects are available in for a fast store, rapidly buying their provisions and leaving, in Rhinebeck individuals are inspired to have an expertise with the resident cheesemonger Kate Longtoe and pattern as many cheeses as they like.
They plan to hold a variety of uncommon or experimental cheeses but in addition emphasize the work of native cheesemakers, together with Churchtown Dairy in Hudson, Harpersfield Cheese in Jefferson, and 4 Fats Fowl, a creamery in Stephentown. “There are such a lot of cheesemakers who [are] doing wonderful stuff within the Hudson Valley,” Alonso-Lubell says.
The second location got here with model new gear, which is sensible however presents its personal hurdle. “The problem for Rhinebeck is attempting to reintroduce that rustic attraction that we’ve naturally in Kingston into this new-looking location,” Alonso-Lubell says. Nonetheless, rustic attraction or not, he says the neighborhood response has been “great, past my wildest expectations.”