Cheese wholesaler opens retail cash and carry operation  

Lynne Wells
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If you like cheese, but not it’s high price tag in local grocery stores, you might want to drop by a new retail outlet in Burnside.

If you like cheese, but not it’s high price tag in local grocery stores, you might want to drop by a new retail outlet in Burnside. Monarch Food Brokers, wholesalers of cheese products to the local food service and hospitality industries, has opened a cash and carry retail outlet next to its warehouse, offering a wide selection of cheeses and other products.

Mike Clarke and his partner, Rick Cole, have operated their warehouse at 11 Thornhill Drive since 2003, selling approximately 400 fine cheeses directly to local restaurants, etc. Clarke says because wine and cheese parties are such a big thing for home entertainment these days, he and his partner wanted to give members of the general public access to their product.

“We wanted to give them chance to buy our products directly because cheese is just so expensive in the grocery stores,” Clark says. “When  500 square feet of space became available next to our warehouse and office, with lots of parking right out front, we went ahead with our plans for a retail operation.”

The cash and carry will not stock all 400 varieties of the cheese the food broker operation stocks.

“That would be too much for anyone to face in a store,” Clark says with a laugh. “We’ll offer the more popular varieties to start with such as Swiss and cheddar, but there will be a nice selection of cheese from Ireland, England and Italy, just to name a few. We hope to broaden the selection available in the cash and carry over time.

“We’ll be jusst like a small version of Pete’s Fruitique, only without the produce,” Clarke says.

The cash and carry will also stock crackers, prepacked meats and oils, “the sorts of things you’d see at a wine a cheese party,” Clarke says. “In future, we’re hoping to stock wines as well, but that’s down the road.”

The pair also have plans to establish a business catering service in the future if all goes well with the retail operation.

“The retail operation is an add-on to our main business focus,” Clarke says. “But there’s potential there and we hope to develop it.”

The cash and carry will be open two days a week to begin with, on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Opening just before the holiday season, Clarke and Cole hope Burnside tenants will take advantage of their product selection and lower prices for holiday get togethers.

Geographic location: Ireland, England, Italy

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