Welcome to the blog of the Rehoboth Beach Cheese Company. Pull up a bar stool and experience our Counter Culture!

I'm Andy Meddick, Owner and President of the Rehoboth Beach Cheese Company. In 2005, I left my corporate I.T. job in Washington DC, to relocate with my spouse's business to the DE beaches. What to do now we live in a state where chicken houses can often outnumber human? Faced with a four hour round trip to the closest decent food market, I opened my first store, Good For You Market, a full service grocery store, focusing on organic, natural, and gourmet foods. In the worst economy since the 1930s, I won Best of Delaware awards three years running. After four years, I decided to simplify the business, re-aligning to focus on what we did best. The result is the Rehoboth Beach Cheese Company. We sell (retail and wholesale) artisan/farmstead cheeses, charcuterie, organic produce,and other specialty foods such as spices and seasonings. We also teach cheese classes, cater, sell online, and consult with other businesses to build their cheese programs.

I've learned much since starting out. For example, staffing was a steep learning curve, and I discovered that a savvy sales and marketing professional lay dormant in an I.T. geek! Systems analysis, business analysis, database design and development, data architecture, web design, specialty cheeses and foods, organic farming, catering, and cooking. What do all these threads have in common? Curiosity! It begets technique, which in turn begets better solutions to commond needs. Why complain about lack of choice, if you're not willing to offer an alternative? Our move, and my business development has taught me to participate in life, and to be ever curious! Enjoy!

Mar 6, 2011

It's been a long week and I've spent most of it in the doghouse, while the dogs have been in my bed. Running your own business will sometime land you where I've been this week, and guess what, sometimes it's not the businesses' fault. Shocker! This entry is for my honey, who proves every day that my Mother-in-law is not the only perfect person on this earth. I Love You Man!

It's raining in downtown Rehoboth and the store is quiet. Soft, fine rain - the kind I'd like if I didn't own a retail storefront focusing on perishable inventory! This kind of rain can settle in for days at a time in Wales, my home land. The temperature is quite balmy for early March, so this is good dog walking weather, or, as in my case since I have a store to run (read babysit - cue unhappy smiley face), I'll reach for the blog, and not the dog(s). Oh yeah, they're all in my bed!

OK - here's a hint for those whom have not had the pleasure to know me well, yet... I love play on words, I love non-sequitir humor, I love irony. So, usually when I have a point to make, even though I've lived in the USA decades at this point, I'll turn to that British conversational staple: obliqueness, to posit a well-made point. Read around the point - not through it and you'll get me, and get more out of my blog. Or not.

I also love to write. It's one reason I love to do my own marketing. I very often will be doing something unrelated, such as cleaning the walk-in cooler at the store, and an idea for a column hits me, and I have to stop and get it down before I lose it. I sometimes submit these for publication, so you may have read me somewhere other than here, at some point.
Le Wavreumont - French washed rind
Monastery style cheese. Earthy, sweet,
buttery. Not that stinky. Yum!
Anyways, what's my point, this point, the point I'm trying to make? While lunching on some Le Wavreumont cheese and raw almonds, the thought occured to me that I've never quite been able to succinctly answer a question I'm frequently asked, "Why, Cheese Man do you sell things other than cheeses, when you call your business a cheese company? It's rather silly, don't you think?" Italics are my addition - look to the end for a clue to this pop culture reference ***

Today it came to me - clarity on a cloudy, drizzly day. Here's my, 'elevator pitch.' Organic produce, spices, seasonings, specialty foods. What do all these have in common with REAL cheese? Simple - no farms, no food. We Know Farms. We Know Food. We Know Yum. Full circle. It's the circle of Yum, Greg!

*** Pop culture reference. The wonderful Joan Collins plays an unforgettable character ("Sign the will, Cecil!" Oops, wrong unforgettable character!), Helena Barnes on the NBC sitcom, Will and Grace. Helena tells Grace, "You are an odd girl, aren't you?" Grace asks why British people insult you and then ask you to agree with them, Helena replies, "I don't know. It's rather silly, don't you think?"  

Mar 1, 2011

Public Relations experts advise addressing a concern before it becomes something to cry about - an issue requiring a tissue.

I thought I would turn to my blog to 'spring a leek,' or leak some news ahead of the rumor mill common to life in a small town. Of course I know that there are those who will dislike me for spoiling a good rumor with the truth, but not everyone's going to like everyone all of the time - that's life! Much better to insert food into one's mouth than one's foot. A cheese plate is much easier to eat than one's words. Let's make sure the words we share are the correct ones.

So, what's up Cheese Man? Not so much up as out. I'm sad to report that as of the end of March, I will no longer be present selling my cheeses, specialty foods, and organic produce, and operating my organic juice bar at Hamel's Market. My winter stint as Manager of Hamel's Market will soon conclude and the owners return to assume the running of the business. While the owners of Hamel's and myself realize that we have a solid background from our separate businesses on which to form a new business alliance, I have decided not to procede with a joint venture with Hamel's at this time. My personal friendship with the Hamel's owners will continue. Sorry rumor mill, there's, "No trouble at 'mill" -nothing sinister here - no bad feelings - purely a case of a good opportunity with not so perfect timing. I am thankful for the opportunity to have managed Hamel's for the winter season, am confident I have performed a good job, have contributed to the development and growth of the business, and leave Hamel's Market in a good position to re-open for their third summer season. Please continue to support this wonderful local, independently owned business.

For me, what next? I find myself somewhat in a state of flux. Caught between a retail space and a hard place. I had anticipated opening a cheese/specialty foods retail storefront in Rehoboth this spring. Yet, with the absence of a suitable space, it is now uncertain whether this will happen. This much I do know: as I've grown in my knowledge of the specialty foods industry over various entrepreneurial stages of my business the past five years, one thing has become clear to me. What has emerged is my role as connector, facilitator of access to specialty foods and the sales and marketing knowledge necessary to allow others to experience such foods free of any lobbied bias or platform. This does not necessarily need or mean a retail store, but I do not rule it out! What comes next is a logical extension of what has come before. This metropolitan beach town on the edge of a large agricultural plain where chicken houses sometimes outnumber human, is my home. A community that I am a full time member of. A community I love. Yum may have temporarily left the building, but most definitely not the beach.

Thus, I've chosen today, March 1, Saint David's Day, to announce the formation of my new company, the, "Rehoboth Beach Cheese Company." My current mission to support our local businesses in wholesaleing specialty foods direct to them will continue. Additionally, my educational and marketing platform will continue through private and public cheese classes and formal sales and marketing training for my business customers staff. The Rehoboth Beach Cheese Company will continue to enhance and develop relationships with other businesses, growers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. For the time being we will move all of our retail products onto our website You may order online for shipping, or free local delivery. Since I do not currently have a retail storefront, then Auntie's Organic Juice Bar will be mobile only. To book Auntie to juice up you parties, mailto:rbcheeseco@gmail.com. Our organic produce department will also move onto our online store where you may purchase organic fruits and vegetables through a new local delivery service I am calling, "Doorganics." You can order specific fruits and vegetables, or order boxes that we select for you based on seasonality. Doorganics will also expand to distribute locally and seasonally grown chemical-free produce. Please stay tuned for an update to the weknowyum website, going live April 1 with a new logo and new features in keeping with this news.

Remember, slow food, and local food is as much about supporting small, independently owned local businesses as it is farmers markets and farms. Us local retail and wholesale distributors also have a role to play in keeping foods and artisan skills alive. We are the enthusiastic, knowledgeable connectors in our food economy and food supply, as I alluded to above. Use it or lose it applies as much to choices in our food supply as in our muscles.

If you know of a small retail storefront for lease in Rehoboth Beach, a small lock-up refrigerated storage unit for lease, or a small refrigerated delivery vehicle for sale, then mailto:rbcheeseco@gmail.com

We Know Yum! Thank you, Andy.

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