Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wendy Wants Your Cheese!

Hey cheesemakers! Do you not see your cheese on my Cheese List?

That might be a result of my not having had them EVER, or in a really long time! Or maybe I'm just overlooking them because sometimes the world of cheese can be overwhelming!

Let's fix that up right now.

If you are a cheesemaker, affineur or wholesale distributor, I want to hear from you! If you've been keeping score at home, you know I'm getting pretty close to finishing this business plan. Part of planning this shop is nailing down what I'm selling and who is supplying it to me.
If you want to include yourself in that group, please email me! Until my shop's actual Website is up, you can contact me through my professional Website, The Cheese Snob. Look at the top of the page, see "Contact Us," and click on that.

FYI: my shop will be in Downtown Jersey City, NJ, likely in the 07302 zip code. That might help when you're figuring out how you can get YOUR cheese to MY SHOP!

So get that info and those samples to me and let's talk about cheese!

Monday, December 28, 2009

All About Cheese: Intro and Fromagerie Tournevant

While I'm busy toiling away, finishing that business plan, I figure I should keep you entertained by telling you more about the delicious items you can expect to enjoy once my shop opens. Many of these foods and beverages will also be available in the Tea and Cheese Clubs, so you can enjoy some of them even before the actual shop opens!

A major tenet of my store is the importance of EDUCATION. I don't just mean going to school, boys and girls; I mean knowing about what you eat, how it's made or grown and who makes or grows it, what's in it and from whence it comes.

Those of you who know me professionally know I've taught a handful of seminars on cheese -- everything from The Basics of Cheese to more specific fare like The Pecorinos You Don't Know. I've presented on cheese in three states, in two stores, one museum, one college and on one radio station, and that's just the formal classes. I'm like the Johnny Appleseed of cheese info: everywhere I go, I spread little bits of cheese knowledge.

And that's what I'll do in my shop, too. I'll have a convenient venue and plenty of inventory. But it won't just be me telling you the ways of the curds. I will have other folks coming in to share their knowledge on cheese, tea and other fun food stuff. Of course every class, no matter who teaches it, will center around you getting to eat and drink the subject matter! This isn't musty textbook lectures; this is hands-on! Or mouths-on.

So let us begin your cheese education right now. I'm going to tell you what I know about some of the cheeses I'll be selling. If you know more about any of them, feel free to send me a message and share your knowledge! I love learning new things, especially when they have to do with CHEESE!

An awesome, lovely person I know chooses to only eat cheese made from the milk of sheep and goats. These animals' milks are much easier than cows' milk for some people to digest. Plus, anyone concerned with BGH (or r-BST) need not worry about sheep or goats' milk; BGH stands for Bovine Growth Hormone, and Bovine means cow. So, let's start with some goat cheese, shall we?

Our first stop is Canada. Québec, to be exact, where we will explore the cheeses made by Fromagerie Tournevant.

Many people love the soft, fresh goat cheese known simply as "chèvre." (NB. chèvre simply means "goat" in French) I love it, too, but most fresh chèvre out there, even many from France, are kind of horrible. They are vacuum-packed so they can't breathe; thus, they are overly acidic with a flat, acrid taste and a gummy texture. Blecch!

Not so with Tournevant's Le Biquet. These have a moist, flaky texture and a more balanced flavor. Yes, they are tangy, because fresh goat cheese should be tangy, but they are far from acrid. The flavor is more bright than acidic. I think they are superb. Le Biquet comes with herbs and au naturel. I plan to get both. I'm not a huge fan of cheese with "stuff" in it, but there are a few -- like fresh goat cheese -- where herbs are entirely appropriate.

Like any delicious fresh goat cheese, Le Biquet is fine on its own, spread onto a baguette or some crispy crackers. You can also crumble it over your salads, put it on a burger, panino or pizza. For a fancy trick, slice it into discs (use unflavored dental floss for the cleanest cut -- yup, that's a catering secret!) and broil it on slices of bread for just long enough for the cheese to get a little brown 'n' bubbly. Mmm... If you're really fancy, you can also stuff it into your homemade ravioli or tortellini.

One of the reasons Le Biquet is a superior fresh goat cheese is because of the pasteurization method used by Tournevant: the "slower and lower" method. Because Le Biquet is aged for fewer than 60 days, by FDA law the milk used to make it must be pasteurized.

There are two main ways to pasteurize milk: one is to heat the milk to 63˚C and hold it for 30 minutes; the other is to heat the milk to 73˚C and hold it for 15 seconds. For large cheese factories, the latter, "nuclear blast" method makes sense because it's fast, and time is money, kids. The problem with this is it literally cooks all the flavor from the milk. You've accidentally burned milk at home, haven't you? It tastes pretty bad. Well, imagine what it does to cheese: it makes it taste flat, with little nuance.

Now let's look at the slower, lower-temperature method. It's still completing the pasteurization process, but the lower temperature allows some of the beneficial bacteria in the milk to remain, and this beneficial bacteria gives the cheese a more nuanced flavor and a more traditional, pleasant texture.

Tournevant uses the "slower and lower" method to pasteurize the milk they use for their cheese. It takes more time and a lot more attention to detail, but it is entirely worth it.

The other Tournevant cheese I plan to offer is Chèvre Noir, a cheddar-type cheese aged for at least twelve months. This is one of the goat cheeses we cheesemongers like to feed to people who claim they "don't like goat cheese." Of course we rarely believe them; we know they have been poisoned against goat cheese by a lifetime of nasty, substandard specimens.

We have a remedy!

Chèvre Noir!

It is unrepentantly fruity, with a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture, a toasty hint of roasted nuts and none of that yucky "goat-butt" animally flavor that's done so much to scare people away from goat cheese. Being aged for so long, it's on the semi-firm side with a little bit of flaky crumble, but it's easy to handle and even easier to eat. I like to snack on it as is, but you might like to melt it on your sandwich. With a schmear of your favorite fruit jam, it'll make a kick-ass grilled cheese sammich!

For anyone who loves cheddar but can't or won't have cows' milk cheeses, Chèvre Noir is an excellent solution.

But even if you can eat all the cows' milk cheeses you can stuff into your face, it's still a good idea to eat Chèvre Noir. It's one of my favorites, and you know how much of a picky, pain-in-the-ass I am when it comes to cheese!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This Just In... The Cheese List!

This is more-or-less the list of cheeses I want to carry in my shop.
I say "more" because there's no guarantee I can get all of these cheeses, although my experience tells me I can get nearly all of them. I say "less" because I will most likely add to this list at some point.

You may notice this is a pretty awesome list. Thank you very much.

How to read this list:
All cheeses are grouped by country of origin. If I have the state, region, province, etc., that will come next. After is the cheesemaker or the affineur, if I have that information. Then, the name of the cheese.

Here's an example:


Cheesemaker or affineur
Name of the cheese


Cheese Menu


Fromagerie Tournevant
Chèvre Noir
Le Biquet Plain

Le Biquet Herbs


Quicke's Traditional

Colston Bassett Dairy
Stilton, PDO

Manor Farm
Montgomery’s Cheddar, PDO


Petit Grés des Vosges

Vallée d’Aspe
Ossau-Iraty, AOC

Bleu de Laqueuille
Cantalet, AOC

Saint Nectaire Fermier, AOC

Roquefort, AOC

Pont l’Évêque, AOC

Le Délice de Bourgogne
Regale de Bourgogne plain

Regale de Bourgogne black pepper
Regale de Bourgogne brandy-soaked raisins

Regale de Bourgogne garlic and herbs
Regale de Bourgogne mustard seed

Langres, AOC

Fleur du Maquis

Comté, AOC, 18-month


Cábecou Feuille


Emilia Romagna
Parmigiano-Reggiano, DOP, 2-year

Gorgonzola Dolce, DOP
Provolone Valpadana, DOP

Castelrosso La Tur
Gianni Cora
Robiola di Castagna

Pecorino di Pienza
Pecorino Foglie di Noce

Il Forteto
Pecorino Toscano Stagionata, DOP

Taleggio, DOP

Piave Stravecchio
Ubriaco al Prosecco

The Netherlands

Beemster XO 26-Month
Boerenkaas, 2-year

Goat Gouda, Young




Roncal, DO

Queso Monte Enebro



Gruyère, AOC
Rolf Beeler
Hoch Ybrig

United States

Bravo Farms
Silver Mountain

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company
Point Reyes Blue

Cato Corner Farm
Bridgid’s Abbey

Maytag Dairy Farms
Maytag Blue

Berkshire Cheese Makers
Berkshire Blue

Westfield Farms
Hubbardston Blue

New Jersey
Valley Shepherd Creamery
Oldwick Shepherd

New York
Nettle Meadow Farm

Blue Ledge Farm
Lake’s Edge

Riley’s Coat

Bonnieview Farm
Ben Nevis

Grafton Village Cheese Company
One-Year Aged Cheddar
Two-Year Aged Cheddar

Jasper Hill Farm
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Constant Bliss

Neighborly FarmsOrganic!
Jalapeño Monterey Jack
Raw Milk Cheddar

Willow Hill Cheese
Autumn Oak


Vaquero Blue

Vermont Brebis

Meadow Creek Farm

Uplands Cheese Company
Pleasant Ridge


Are you getting hungry?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Tea Tease

As I'm continuing to write the business plan so I can open the actual Curds & Whey store, I'm fine-tuning my cheese and tea menus. I'm happy to post the menus here so you can get a real sense of what inclusion in the Curds & Whey Cheese and Tea Clubs can get you. When the shop opens, all tea I sell will be available for you to buy loose, or we can prepare it hot or iced for you to enjoy in the cafe or take to your next destination.

Here's what I have for tea, so far. Mind you, this selection may change and in no way is a guarantee of what's to come. The world is a fun and crazy place and we never know what can happen. But these are the teas I've chosen from my chosen vendor, who is the Art of Tea, in case you are wondering.

Once my storefront opens and I start selling a lot of tea, I'll add to my menu. There are many wonderful teas out there and if I could, I'd carry them all. Some day I just might, but in the beginning I have to start out a little on the lean side.

I am happy to hear your feedback on this list. I've done my best to make it balanced and interesting, with old favorites and interesting new blends for your drinking pleasure. Have I forgotten something obvious? Let me know and I'll look into it!


Tea Menu

All teas are loose-leaf and organic.
The minimum order for tea is one ounce.
Prices and availability are subject to change without notice.
Okay, I’m done with the fine print now.


Silver Needle
Organic Silver Needle is the most sought after white tea and is only harvested for a few days each year in the northern district of Fujian, China. Packed with antioxidants, these silvery
down-covered leaves have been prized for their medicinal properties for more than 1,000 years. Silver Needle has a light golden flush with a woodsy flavored body, unique savory aroma and long balanced sweetness.

Summer Rain
A special blend of organic white tea, infused with fresh essence of cantaloupe and jasmine,
brimming with antioxidant power. Perfect as an iced tea or served hot after a meal.

White Goji Blossoms
Organic white tea hand blended with raw goji berries, lemon myrtle and marigolds. This
refreshing infusion produces notes of baked pear and orange blossoms with a crisp finish.


Dragon Crisp – Gen Mai Cha

This so called “poor man’s tea” is made from freshly picked organic Sencha tossed with toasted rice kernels, creating a golden infusion with lightly roasted, popcorn overtones. Rich in flavor and aroma. From Japan.

Eisai’s Choice Sencha
This prized green tea, used in the Zen
Monasteries of Japan, is the highest quality Sencha from the famed Uji Gardens. Its dark leaves denote carefully tended shade-growth. Enjoy the tea with the flavor and hue of fresh cut grass.

Fresh Greens

Pan-fried organic green tea and lemon verbena create a classic infusion for refreshing enjoyment hot or iced.

Hand-picked Japanese organic green tea leaves and stems are charcoal fired to produce savory notes of roasted chestnut. Brews a deeply enjoyable cup with surprisingly low caffeine content.

Kukicha – Twig Tea

Kukicha is made from organic green twigs and stems assiduously attended through an aging
process. Once maturity is reached the twigs and stems are roasted, producing this wondrously full-bodied tea with hints of cinnamon and a low caffeine content. From Japan.

White Tip Jasmine

Chinese green tea lightly fired to maintain silvery tips, traditionally scented with jasmine.


Iron Goddess of Mercy / Ti Kuan Yin, Roasted
Grown on China’s high hilltops amongst fresh streams and
cool, crisp air. Tender leaves are gently basket-tossed immediately after harvesting to break skins for semi-oxidization. Similar to Ti Kuan Yin, Green, but this one is baked twice to create more chocolate type notes with hints of roasted chestnut.

Peach Oolong

Organic Wuyi oolong hand blended with rosehips, marigolds and essence of apricot and peach. Brews a rich infusion that calls to mind freshly picked peaches on a warm, end-of-summer’s day.


Created in honor of Joseph Walsh, who published one of the Western world's first books on tea blending in 1896. This tea offers a rich, flavorful cup combining fruity notes of white peach and gala apple with cinnamon, and has a crisp floral finish.

Ancient Forest

A specialty of the southwest province of Yunnan, this unique tea is harvested from ancient trees on the protected land of Jingmai Mangjing’s Blue Mountains. 100% organic, hand picked and
sorted, this black tea brews a rich, earthy infusion with notes of cedar and honey.

Bio-Dynamic Breakfast – Fair Trade Certified

Grown and harvested beyond organic. Biodynamic Farming embraces the global and local culture of our Fair Trade Single Estate ecosystem, creating a superior organic black tea. Our premier blend brews a brisk cup with aromatic notes of maple leaf, honey and cocoa.

Cinnamon Fig
Rounded black tea base with fresh ground cinnamon bits and summer harvest fig. Delivers rich
flavor with apple and maple notes and the warming bouquet of cinnamon.

Earl Grey

A blend of certified organic black teas hand picked from select gardens in China and India. The full bodied leaves are then blended with precious oil of bergamot to create a superb citrus bouquet and great finish.

Immortal Nectar Pu-Ehr – Vintage ‘97

Discover the benefits of rare, premium cave-aged pu-erh, known to decrease physical stress and lower cholesterol. Our unrefined, medium leafed, organic elixir yields deep brown liquor with
light sherry bouquet and a smooth, earthy flavor.

Carefully hand crafted Chinese tea based on traditional recipes. Brews a brisk cup with a classic, smooth taste, rich burgundy color and an oak finish.

Lapsang Souchong Superior

Traditionally carried by camel across Asia from China to Europe, this tea would arrive with a signature smoky aroma from the fires that the caravans burned for warmth. Still popular today, the organic leaves are smoked over pine needles and yield a distinctive aroma that goes
especially well with savory dishes.

Lovers’ Leap Ceylon

Cultivated near the Southern slope of Sri Lanka`s highest mountain Pidurutalagala, this tea is
characterized by a bright cup with a flowery finish.

Starry Night
Organic Assam black tea combined with natural, soothing vanilla bits and star shaped white tea.

Tisanes (caffeine-free)

Apricot Escape
Organic rooibos & honeybush are carefully blended with lemongrass, lemon myrtle, rosehips, hibiscus, marigolds, citrus peel, appl
e and essence of apricot & pear. Brews a rich burgundy color with a clean finish reminiscent of Asian pear. May be enjoyed hot or over ice.

Egyptian Chamomile

The sweet, calming taste of whole organic Egyptian chamomile helps to ease the mind and soothe the tummy.

Rooibos Italian Blood Orange
Fair Trade Organic Rooibos combined with hibiscus, orange peel, safflower, and natural citrus essence. This caffeine-free blend brews a light pink hue with a clean mouth-feel.

Lemon Verbena

Hand picked and air dried. Perfect hot or blended with ice.

Organic Mint

Proprietary blend of spearmint and peppermint domestically grown and harvested on the picturesque Oregon and California coasts.

A refreshing blend of organic chamomile, rosehips, lavender, roses and pink peppercorn. Brews a floral cup with thin liquor and both sweet and spicy characters.

Yerba Maté (caffeine-free)

Citron Maté

Great after a long day or as a restorative after exertive exercise, this aromatic tonic will refresh the senses. Lemongrass, orange peel, yerba mate and lemon myrtle blend together beautifully in this custom fusion you’ll enjoy hot or iced.

Yerba Maté
Our shade grown Yerba Mate is traditionally hand blended in the rainforest of Paraguay. Brews an earthy delight displaying a chestnut finish and boasts vitamins and minerals known to enhance one’s health and well-being.

Feeling thirsty?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breaking News!!!

After working for many months doing research, writing the business plan, etc., I'm finally on my way to being in business.

I'm still finishing the business plan -- it is very close to being finished -- but in the meantime, I am finally able to offer a few fabulous ways for you and your friends to get some awesome cheese and tea picked out by your favorite Wendy!

Later today I'm going to post details on how you can purchase Cheese of the Month, Tea of the Month, and Cheese and Tea of the Month Subscriptions for you and your loved ones. Join the Cheese Club! Join the Tea Club! Join 'em both!

Just in time for Hanukkah and Christmas, I know!

To get ahead of the crowd, buy some Store Bonds now. YES, you can use them to join the Clubs.

YES you can give the Store Bonds as gifts**!
YES you can use them in the shop (when it opens)!
NO the Store Bonds never expire!
YES you'll save some money!

What are Store Bonds? They are gift certificates, but with added value. Store Bonds are purchased in increments of $9, but for every $9 you spend, you get $10 in merchandise!
How does it work? Buy a Store Bond for $9. When you go to redeem it in my shop, it's magically worth $10! And yes, you can use it to join the Clubs!
That means if you buy $90 in Store Bonds, you actually get $100 in cheese and tea. INCREDIBLE!

You want in?

Click on the thing and buy 'em through Paypal. If you would rather pay using a check or money order, please email me at and we'll work it out.

**If you are ordering Store Bonds as gifts, order by December 20 if you want us to mail the Bonds for Christmas delivery. If you order after that, we'll email your recipient by Christmas, but actual Christmas delivery cannot be guaranteed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Description of the Business

After working so diligently on those P&L Projections, I fried my brain. But there's still work to be done on getting this Biz Plan completed.

Oh yes, lots of work.

And I still have to fudge around with the numbers a little bit. But to give my Math Mind a break, I've gone back to the narrative portions. Those come much more naturally to me.

NB: Some of you know I recently moved. It usually takes me awhile to completely unpack, but as I unpack, I discover fun and useful stuff I'd forgotten I'd owned, such as the "Small Business For Dummies" book. In it, there's what may be the clearest and most straightforward instructions on how to write a business plan I've ever seen. It was just the thing I needed to get me going again.

Last week I wrote my "Mission Statement" and the "Summary of the Business." Both of those are part of the greater chapter entitled "Description of the Business."

Within that chapter are also the sections "Legal Description" (as in what legal structure my business is: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, S Corporation, etc. In my case, it's an LLC, a Limited Liability Corporation) and "Competitive Edge."

For me, these parts are pretty easy. The Management Plan will also be relatively easy, but it will get progressively more difficult after that.

My trick is to find a way to simply start writing those hard parts, once I get to them, and not get intimidated by how much I don't know. It doesn't have to be perfect; it has to be good enough to take to the SCORES or SBA people, or maybe even the Jersey City Economic Development people. Their job is to help me make it perfect, or at least good enough to shop around to potential investors.

In other news, I'm always, ALWAYS, thinking up ideas for the store. Not a day goes by that I don't think, "Hmm, [this] would be a good promotional program for my shop." Or some such other thing. I often think of these things when I'm taking a shower, trying to go to sleep, riding the subway, or walking around.

In effect, I never have a day off though I'm not currently in operation, nor am I getting paid. But that's not really the point. A good business owner is always "at work" in some way. This isn't as exhausting as it sounds, nor, in my opinion, is it as exhausting (for me) as it is working for someone else. I like thinking about these things, and I do them while wearing nobody else's collar and leash.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

P&L Projections Template DONE

I finished it tonight. Got all the formulas and equations set in Excel and made enough pages for every month for the first five years I'll be in business.

I even managed to show a loss! It's just one month, and it's just about $285. I haven't totally cleaned up the numbers yet, I haven't accounted for repayment of loans, nor have I redone the "wages" line to take into account hiring more people than myself and one 20-hour employee. This means there will probably be more months showing a loss, but this is ok. This is where I figure this stuff out, more or less, so I can include the loss in my working capital needs and borrow enough to cover it.

The next step is to clean up the numbers and then move on to another section of my business plan.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In Case You're Wondering

I'm STILL working on those profit-and-loss projections. They are taking about, oh... forever. It's ok though because I'm learning a lot about Excel, business, numbers, etc. in the process. And this knowledge will help me be a better business owner.

So, I'm sorry to report there's nothing more interesting than that to report!

Considering you probably don't find these things interesting -
1. figuring out how to do different formulas in Excel
2. calculating how much each cheese class will cost me, per person, including cheese, bread, promotions and class hand-outs but not labor
3. trying to project the difference in sales between November and December of the 5th year I'm in business
4. tightening up the layout of each month's projections on Excel so when I change data I can easily update the entire month's net profit (or loss) and being very proud of myself for figuring out how to do this
5. pondering how many employees I can afford in Y1, Y2, etc. and how many of them will be part-time or full-time
- I will spare you all the details.

Needless to say, I'm finding myself surprisingly fascinated by the minutiae of running a business, at least from a theoretical perch. (I think I will be even more interested in the practical application of this knowledge because I tend to be a pretty good "doer.") Maybe this is a good outlet for my control-freakishism. I get to be the Deity, plugging in a 20-hour employee here, dictating the number of cheese classes in a given month there, etc.

I honestly didn't think I'd find this part enjoyable. In advance, I thought I'd be the one who just wanted to open the damn doors already and let someone else lay all this pesky detail-oriented foundation. But no, I'm learning I do like all this planning. Hmm. Funny, that.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Moon Cheese On The Radio

Monday, June 1st, from noon-3pm (Eastern Time) I will be a guest on Maria's (fill-in) radio program on WFMU here in Jersey City, NJ. Maria's theme is "The Moon" and she's asked me to come on and talk about the different cheeses that make up the moon's surface and that they taste like, etc. This is not a joke.

Please tune in tomorrow to learn all about the moon in general, and its relationship to cheese specifically. I'm not sure what time Maria will have me on, but her show tends to be pretty darn excellent so I'm certain you'll enjoy the entire thing.

I can tell you for a fact we will have at least these two cheeses: Beecher's Flagship Reserve and Valle d'Aspe Chevre. There may be more. You will have to tune in and find out!

If you are in the general Hudson County, NJ/NYC area, tune in at 91.1 fm
If you in northern NJ or the Hudson Valley of NY, tune in at 90.1 fm
If you are unable to tune in on the radio, or you are elsewhere, go to

Monday, May 4, 2009

Picking The Brain Trust Again

Or, Here's Where I'm Stumped Yet Again!

So in trying to figure out my monthly profit-and-loss projections, I'm having a hell of a time inserting the utilities.

Obviously it all depends on where I'm at and what kind of heat the building uses, but I have absolutely NO concept whatsoever on how much my electric, gas, oil, etc. bills will be.

Water, either, although I bet tomorrow I can call the city and find out from them.

I need to find out about the trash collection, too, because I have a feeling the city collects it and I don't have to get a trash service.

I tried looking in a search engine for commercial compost collection but couldn't find anything useful. But I did find the US Composting Council and I sent them an email asking if they have a list of compost collectors. I would rather compost as much waste as possible and not add it to the landfill.

I wouldn't consider myself a rabid environmentalist but I make a conscious effort to recycle, reuse and generally avoid being a wasteful jerk. For instance, my business model includes using alternatives to plastic goods in my shop. Instead of plastic wrap, I'm using cellophane and cheese paper. My to-go cups and lids for cold drinks, my dixie cups and lids for to-go condiments and my to-go cutlery are make of some sort of biodegradable corn material that is plastic-like but is not petroleum-based. It will cost me a little more but I am creating my business model to incorporate these items. It's all built in to the price of each item.

Pay now or pay later, right?


Oh, and you might have noticed I put GIGANTIC pictures in today's post. I suddenly realized my blog was very text-heavy with NO graphics. As much as I luuurve reading The New Yorker, I don't need to emulate their style.

So Pictures! Pictures, everyone!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I've Been Workin' On The Railroad

All the live-long day.

Except it's not a railroad, it's my couch.

And I'm working on the profit and loss projections. Still! But I've been pulling a marathon session today, and I have made lots of progress. Whee!

I always knew I was detail oriented, but I'm learning that I can be that way regarding numbers, too. And allocations. I'm already learning a lot about running a business and I haven't even rented a space yet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Here's Where I'm Stumped

So I'm still working on my profit-and-loss spreadsheet, and trying not to melt in this unseasonably warm weather, but I've come upon a quandary.

I am creating three years of projections, but I have NO IDEA what is a reasonable percentage of growth from one year to the next. I want to be optimistic but not ridiculous.

So in case you were just tuning in, here's the gist of the business:
It's a small - 500 square feet or so - shop in a busy somewhat urban downtown location, not far from mass transit in a location with a good amount of foot traffic, car traffic, and parking. It's a cheese and tea shop and cafe. There is no other place in town to buy nice cheese, and other than a few coffee shops selling a few varieties of decent bag tea, there's no real tea shop in town. There's certainly no place else to buy loose tea to brew at home.
The neighborhood is partly gentrified but not entirely, and there are a lot of young people here. It's sort of like the East Village 15 years ago but with fewer muggings and not as much heroin, as far as I can tell. Sometimes I see little glassine bags on the sidewalk but not a ton of them.

So what should I claim in my business plan? A ten-percent increase every year for the first three? Twenty-five percent? Two-hundred?

Honestly, I have no idea about this. I am stumped. If you have any experience or insight, please share it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Writing Brain and Math Brain

My Math Brain has been put to the test lately. At the same time I've been working on numbers, they are also conceptual and theoretical numbers. It's a strange combination for me to wrap my mind around. I'm used to dealing with numbers in the concrete form: one apple plus one apple equals two apples, until I eat both apples and then there are none.

But this is different. I have to imagine how many apples I might sell in January, versus how many I might sell in May, and then I have to build an entire business on that supposition, because then I have to make sure all of my costs of doing business (how much I am paying for those apples, how much I'm paying to keep the store open [rent, utilities, supplies, salaries, benefits], unforeseen costs like repairs and theft, etc.) are covered by the theoretical number of apples I'm selling.

Well, okay, not apples. Cheese and tea.

So anyway, these parts of my brain aren't the strongest parts, but they are getting a workout and are getting stronger. This is a good thing, because even though I will have a bookkeeper to help me through the workaday number thing, I still must have a better knowledge (than I do now) of what the numbers mean and should look like for a profitable business. I need to be able to open my books at any given moment and know if I'm doing well, or need to do better.

Some days, though, it's easier for me to still get work done on this biz plan, but use parts of my brain that are much stronger from use. That would be the writing part.

So I'm writing the descriptive sections now. And I will do little chunks of the projections in-between.

My goal is to get this entire thing done by Thursday. It's a crazy deadline, but not really. I've worked under much tougher deadlines, and had to complete far bigger projects. But this time I'm running entirely on self-discipline and that's not my strong suit. I'm not writing this for a professor or a boss or anyone but me.

And the people who might give me some money to make this thing happen.

Money seems to be a good motivator. I'll dangle dollar bills in front of my face instead of carrots.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bid On Me!

My friend Sue works for Playwrights Horizons, and she asked me if I could donate my time and services for an auction item to help raise money for her theatre.

Of course I could, and I did!

Bid on me here, but hurry up because time is running out!

The link will tell you what I'm offering. It will be fun!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Eins Zwei Drei Vier Fünf Sechs Sieben Acht. One Two!

While my progress has slowed over the last few weeks, it's not like the Curds & Whey wheels have stopped.

Oh no.

I'm writing my business plan now. Oy. It takes a long time and with other things going on here 'n' there, it's taking me longer than I want.

Right now I'm working on my Three-Year Profit and Loss Projections.

Oh boy!

Yes, that means that I have a big ol' Excel Spreadsheet open, with tabs for every month, and I'm filling in the blanks for how much of every little thing I'll sell and how much it costs to sell it. Thirty-six tabs in all!

It's really hard to project how many ounces of loose-leaf tea I'll sell via mailorder in the first February I'm open, or how many plates of cheese, to be eaten in the cafe, I'll sell in the third September I'm open.

BUT, any investor knows these numbers are all projections. And I can estimate these numbers using a combination of guessing and actual empirical data. See, I have been in the business long enough to know I'll sell far more retail cheese (by the pound or piece, rather than on a plate) in November than I will in January, etc.

AND, potential investors are far more interested in my ability to calculate and understand my COST of selling each ounce of tea than they are making sure my projections/predictions come true.

They are also looking to see that I'm realistic about my projections. For instance, if I claim that in a brand new 500 square foot shop I will be able to sell 10,000 lbs of cheese in my first month, they might not take me too seriously. That would mean I expect to sell 333 lbs of cheese every day in that month; more if I plan to open fewer than seven days per week.

As much as this part of the project is time-consuming, I'm finding it strangely fun. I actually like numbers, and it's exciting to numerically - and financially - envision the success of my shop.

Ten cups of iced tea...
$300 of retail merchandise...
Twenty cheese plates...
Thirty-five pounds of mail-order cheese...

Welcome to all Caseophile Readers!

To simplify my life some, I'm posting all future blog articles on cheese here, rather than at my "Caseophile" blog.

I'm not taking it down, at least not in the near future. If I do, I'll probably move all those articles over here.

So if you are new to The Roquefort Files, welcome!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shoppin' For Cheese

Today I was in Manhattan eating about a thousand dumplings with my friend. After we parted, I went to a cheese shop where I used to work to pick up a few things for my Cheese Plate Prototypes.

See, creating a menu for me can't be a theoretical thing. I have to make one each of every type of cheese plate, with the accompaniments, and once I'm happy with the size of the portions then I weigh or measure everything and do the math and come up with my cost, then the price.

Tomorrow I'm meeting with the cafe owners to go over my cheese plates I'm making for them, and the rental of their shop every Monday. I'm bringing my prototypes so they can see them and we can eat them and they can give me their feedback.

I need to start the menu on the small side. Once it becomes popular I can add more varieties, but for now there will be two different plates. Each will have one kind of cheese, some Wasa Crispbread-type crackers, a pickled something or other, dried fruit, and honey-glazed pecans.

The cheeses I got were: two-year Boerenkaas, which is the farmstead version of Gouda (from Holland, of course), and Westfield Farm (Massachusetts) Capri, a very fresh goat cheese. I might not stick with Capri, it depends on a few factors. I do know I will have a very fresh goat cheese, though. Just not sure from which farm.

I also bought two jars of Rick's Picks pickled things. I paid retail - ugh, I know - because I need to taste-test them with the cheeses before ordering a case. Rick's is nice and will let me order mixed cases, but I have to decide on my flavors, first. Today I bought a jar of Phat Beets to go with the goat cheese and Slices of Life to go with the Boerenkaas.

I'm thinking of pairing dried Turkish apricots (ya know, the squishy ones) with the Boerenkaas and dried plums (a new dried fruit to me!) with the Capri. I have to try the plums with the goat tomorrow to make sure the flavors don't clash.

I am almost positive the honey-glazed roasted pecans will pair nicely with both cheeses, but tomorrow will be the acid test.

I'm also talking with the cafe owners about renting their shop on Mondays - when they are closed - to process my mail orders, AND open my cheese shop in their space. I will take over their pastry case and stock my cheeses in it, and people can come to try and buy the cheese! It will give me an opportunity to develop my customer base without taking the big risk of opening my own independent storefront.

I'm into collectives and cooperatives, so this kind of veers into that territory: sharing space! It's a good financial idea, too, both for me and for the cafe. I'll still sell their coffee, tea, espresso and pastries, but that's just because some people will come in, not knowing that today it's not the cafe, but Curds & Whey, and I don't have the heart to deny them their coffee and such.

Plus, it's bad customer service in general, and specifically bad customer service for the cafe. It could really piss off their regulars, and they wouldn't care that it's me denying them and not the cafe owners - the effect will be the same. It'll give people another reason to come into the store, too, and any time - but especially recession time - business owners have to give people lots of good reasons to come in the door. And come back and tell all their friends, too!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I was complaining to my Mom the other day about how LONG this whole "opening a business" business is taking. But, as she reminded me, every day I'm making a little bit of progress, even if it's just a little bit.

Plus, there's so damn much to learn about this that it's probably good it's taking so long. I need time to find - and absorb - all this information. No, my friends, it's not just about putting some tea on a shelf and some cheese in a case and bringing a cigar box for cash and a key to unlock the door.

If only.

Ohhhh, if only.

But as anyone who knows me, knows, and as my Mom keeps reminding me (in addition to the above reminder): if it's not a challenge, I get bored. And when I get bored I abandon a project.

So yeah.

But the challenges here are pretty gigantic and require a certain amount of creativity, as in "just make it up as you go along" and "don't just think outside the box, forget about the damn box entirely."

Part of the challenge is money. But even if I had all the money necessary to open this business, I couldn't just unlock the door. Because the other challenge is navigating Jersey City's byzantine municipal codes and regulations and what-not.

Although I guess if I had a pile of money I could just pay a bunch of people off to let me do whatever the hell I want. After all, this is Hudson County.

Kidding! I'm kidding! I will not be entering into any bribery or other illegal acts, other than the ones I won't write about here.

One major speed bump has been regarding certifying my home kitchen for mail-order-sales use. Turns out I can't. Jersey City doesn't like people using the same kitchen to cook their own food for home use as they do to prepare foods for sale. I guess I see their reasoning, but I'm not about to install an additional kitchen in my apartment. Duh.

So I'm currently in negotiation with a cafe close to my house to use their food prep space to process my mail order tea and cheese orders. We're working out the rent and such for the amount of hours and storage space I'll need.

As soon as I get the rental figures from them, I can finalize my Cheese & Tea Subscription Programs. This is a good thing. I can start selling some cheese and tea and making some money!

I'm also working out a program with them to develop a menu of cheese plates they will sell at their cafe. I'll be like a vendor, supplying them with all the (edible) components of the cheese plates. I will do some marketing, as will they, but they will be responsible for plating and selling them.

I can't get started with any of this, though, without raising about $2,000 in addition to what I've already raised. I need to get my inventory and some food prep and shipping supplies.

If you're thinking of buying any Store Bonds, now would be a good time to do it. Just think, it'll bring you *this* much closer to getting some great cheese and tea from me.

Again, for every $9 you invest now, you get $10 in merchandise from my mail order shop and from my storefront.

Stay tuned for more news, as things seem to be rolling along.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tonight's Cheese Curriculum

Attendees of tonight's Cheese Educational Seminar ate the following cheeses (in order of service):

1. Petit Billy
2. Brillat-Savarin
3. Il Pastore Sini
4. Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (affinage by Jasper Hill Farm)
5. Försterkäse

Every cheese was considered someone's favorite of the selection, except for Försterkäse. I'm not surprised, as it's a challenging cheese.

Oh wait! Försterkäse is my favorite, and I'm a someone! And I don't just mean it's my favorite from tonight's selection - Försterkäse is one of my favorite cheeses ever!

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Store Bonds" Prototype Revealed!

Hello everyone. I spent the last few hours designing the actual PAPER MONEY you'll get when you buy my Curds & Whey Store Bonds.

I got as far as the front of the bill. The attached picture is what the front will look like unless I decide to change it which I probably won't.

Go here to get some Store Bonds now!

For the uninitiated, Store Bonds are one of the ways I am encouraging folks to invest in my soon-to-be Cheese & Tea Shop and Cafe; and they will also be one of the forms of payment I'll accept in my store, and that includes my online store AND my brick-and-mortar storefront.

Store Bonds are a good deal. For every $9 you send me, you get $10-worth of Store Bonds. Try finding an interest rate like that at the bank!

The Bonds mature once I have something to sell and am in a position to sell it. It's that simple.

If you'd like to learn just how far your money will go, please go here. That link will take you to my store's official Blog, where you can also buy some Store Bonds, and you can learn more about them, such as...

Yes! They are transferable! Give them as gifts or use them as currency amongst your friends.

For those who live far away and plan to use them via mailorder, it won't be necessary to mail the Bonds in to redeem them; you just have to give me the serial numbers of the Bonds you plan to use. But you won't be able to use that Bond again, so buy a little frame for it and hang it on your wall!

Nearby friends can redeem them via the Bonds' serial numbers, too, and frame them for posterity.

Either way...

Get your Store Bonds today!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Shipping Experiment

Last week I completed the first round of my cheese shipping experiment.

The results were just about what I expected, and this is a good thing.

I needed to do some shipping experiments to gauge what shipping cheese would entail, and this encompassed which shipping service I would use, what kind of materials I need, and how much I should expect for shipping charges.

My goal is to get the cheese to anyone in the lower 48 (i.e. the entire United States minus Alaska and Hawaii - sorry folks who live there!) as quickly and as cheaply as possible while still maintaining high quality control standards.

See, this past Christmas my Mom and I had a nice package of cheese sent to our relatives in Florida, and we spent FIFTY DOLLARS on postage. We spent slightly less on the actual cheese. I think this is wrong and I want to make sure my customers aren't going to spend FIFTY DOLLARS on postage, especially in the middle of the winter. I know it went to Florida from NYC (that's where the cheese seller was located), but it didn't need to go overnight and it didn't need to cost so damn much.

So I sent a test package of cheese to five far-flung friends/family. I bought the most perishable cheese I could ever imagine sending, and I wrapped each person's piece in the double-layer cheese paper I plan to use in my shop. (Most mailorder cheese places wrap their cheese in plastic. I think that's awful.)

I placed the cheese in an insulated inner envelope specially designed to keep things cool, then I put the envelope in a priority mail box from the USPS. I wanted to see if I could get away with NOT overnighting the cheese. Of course, this was last week when it was cold, so things may be different in a few months. I may also choose not to ship cheese anywhere during the hottest months, and only overnight it during hot-but-not-hottest months. That will take more experimentation.

It seems like most other cheese mailorder places use UPS, and they charge A LOT of money for shipping. I find I can use the US Postal Service for a fraction of what UPS is charging, and I can use the priority mail flat rate, which for most boxes of cheese will cost $10.35 in postage. I might charge a few dollars more for handling fees (materials, labor), but it won't be any fifty bucks.

Are the other mailorder businesses using UPS for some reason I have yet to discover?
Until I do, I'm sticking with priority mail flat rate from the USPS.

So completing the first round of this experiment brings me closer to being able to:
1) Continue developing my Cheese Subscription Program
2) Sell cheese mailorder.

My work this week involves somehow finding out Jersey City's Municipal Health Code for food-related establishments. You'd think this would be somewhat easy information to find, but lemme tell you, it's NOT. I'm starting to get pretty frustrated with the whole "dealing with the city" thing. People who already own their own businesses usually give a little chuckle at this point and say, "Welcome to the Club, my friend."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cheese Class - Oh Yeah!

CHEESE! Eat It. Learn It. Love It!

After such a dreadfully dreary winter, isn’t it time we had some fun… some CHEESE-filled fun!?

Come partake in the first in a series of fun, food-filled evenings in Downtown Jersey City, with a Cheese Class and Tasting as the Main Event. The premiere event will take place on Monday, March 16th from 7-10pm at The Stockinette Café at 581 Jersey Ave.

The festivities begin at 7pm with Tea and a Light Dinner, featuring a delicious homemade Personal-Size Pot Pie and a big mug of your choice of freshly-made Harney & Sons Teas.
Tea is a natural astringent that cleanses the palate for CHEESE, of course!

Then, Cheese Class is in session! Sample FIVE different artisan-made cheeses, while Cheese Snob Wendy teaches you more about cheese than any human being should know.

After the class, Cheese Snob Wendy will entertain your questions while The Stockinette’s Cash Tea & Pastry Bar serves up homemade goodies until 10pm, at which time they bolt the doors and kick us all out.


Admission is $50 per person, and that includes dinner and the cheese class & tasting.

Space is very limited and there will be no tickets available at the door; reservations are required! Go here

to reserve your seat now. Don’t miss out!

Please specify your Pot Pie choice: Beef Stew Pot Pie or Vegetarian Black Bean Pot Pie, when you register.

Bring your appetite and your curiosity. Cheese Snob Wendy will satisfy both!


Your host, Cheese Snob Wendy (aka Wendy M. Levy), has been working with cheese since September 1995.

For over 13 years, she’s been a cheesemonger at some of New York City and Vermont’s finest cheese establishments, as well as being an advisor-to-the-trade for cheese shops up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Wendy has taught Cheese Classes at Zabar’s (NYC), Marlboro College (VT) and The Main Street Museum (VT). Now she’s aiming to single-handedly turn Downtown Jersey City into Downtown Cheese Town. For more information, please visit


The Fine Print:

• This event is designed as a complete evening; we’re sorry, but it is not possible to offer any part of it á la carte.

• You don’t need to bring any additional cash with you to the event unless you want to have an additional cup of tea or a pastry. Your first cup of tea, your dinner and the class and cheese tasting are all included in the price of admission!

• There will be no alcohol served, and all attendees must be age 18 or older. Please leave the kiddies home.

• There will be no refunds. If a registrant is unable to attend, a credit will be given for a future Cheese Class Event.

If you have any questions, please direct them to

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Get Your Store Bonds Here!

For those of you just tuning in, I've created Store Bonds as a way of raising money now for the store I'm creating later.

How much later? As soon as I get enough money to do it. I'm raising money through the sale of Store Bonds, through regular investors who are loaning me money, and through the soon-to-be-announced Subscription Program.

But we're talking about Store Bonds today.

What are Store Bonds?

Sort of like a gift certificate, sort of like your bank's Christmas Club, sort of like a CSA (community supported agriculture), sort of like a Certificate of Deposit, sort of like a micro-loan...

Store Bonds are available NOW for you to purchase from me.

The above link will take you to Paypal. If you don't want to use Paypal, please email me at cheesesnobwendy at yahoo dot com and we will work out another arrangement.

They are available in increments of $9, and for every $9 you invest now, you get $10 in Store Bonds to be used at Curds & Whey, my soon-to-be shop selling cheese and tea. That's a pretty good interest rate, don't you think? Good luck finding that at the bank!

Whereas your American Dollars used to be backed up by gold, then silver - meaning you could bring a dollar to the bank and receive the equivalent amount in gold, then silver - now your Dollar is backed up by your faith in the US Government.

My Store Bonds are backed up by tea and cheese! Yes, you will be able to exchange your Store Bonds for the equivalent amount in tea and cheese.

Store Bonds benefit you and they benefit me. Like the CSA model, I'm getting the money I need now to start Curds & Whey. And you're getting more bang for your buck once they mature. (And they mature as soon as I set up shop.)

For now, I'm only keeping detailed records of who buys Store Bonds and in what increments, but in the near future I will issue actual paper Store Bonds. Because each Bond will have a discrete serial number, and will have a corresponding entry for it in my records, these Store Bonds can be sold, traded or given as gifts. Just like your US Dollars.

I intend to open a mail-order Curds & Whey until I have enough money to move to the brick-and-mortar storefront operation, which will be known as Curds & Whey Tea Cafe & Cheese Shop. I'm currently navigating the byzantine regulations of my home city; once I get my home certified and licensed by the Board of Health, and once I get enough money to buy a few supplies and inventory, the Curds & Whey shall begin!

That said, Store Bonds will be redeemable at both the mail-order concern and the physical storefront.

One of the things I like about Store Bonds is it enables those with lots of money to invest and those with not so much money to invest, to participate.

Don't think "Why even bother sending Wendy only $9? That won't help."
YES it will.

$9 will get you $10 in merchandise, and will buy me a brush to clean my knives and cutting board, AND a dish soap dispenser. Because of your $9, Curds & Whey can stay clean!

And what about $18? Well, that gets you $20 in merchandise, and gets me a pair of handles for the hand wire (used to cut soft cheeses) AND a tea scoop. It'll be hard to work without these things!

Are you up for $27, in exchange for $30 in cheese and tea? Thank you! That'll buy my shop a case of soy milk for those lactose-intolerant or vegan tea drinkers. I'm sure they are thanking you, too.

Have a spare $36? You'll get $40 in merchandise for that, and I'll get an entire case of twelve raffia mats to line my cheese display case. They look nice, are easy to keep clean, and make the cheese happy.

Does $45 work for you? I'll give you $50 in Store Bonds, and you'll give me the ability to purchase an entire case (250 bags in a case) of special bags in which I can sell - and protect - loose-leaf tea. Gotta have those.

So you get the idea, right?

Are you up for it? If so, go to my paypal account by clicking the big button below and get your very own Store Bonds!

Relive the Magic of FOOD TIME

Or maybe you missed it the first time around.

That's ok. There's always the archive!

Go here to listen, to see the playlist, and to see some fantastic pictures of cookies, cooks, ABBA and brains.

It was a fun time with good food and lotsa larffs.

Thanks again to Trent for putting it all together, Andrea Silenzi for running the board, and the gracious hosts for letting it all happen in their home.

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Step Closer

Today I learned from an official from my city that I can indeed operate a mail-order business from my home. I also learned the regulations pertaining to a home based business and they will cause no hindrance to my shipping cheese and tea from my house to customers near and far.


Turns out that dullard I spoke to last week didn't have his/her facts straight. I had a feeling...
Too bad said dullard is a city employee who they actually let answer the phone and talk to people.

Now all I have to do is get someone from the city to tell me what the health code regulations are so I can make sure I'm in compliance, get an inspection and get some insurance.

Then I can put up a Website, make some postcards for th' locals, and start making some money!

In the beginning I didn't think I wanted to sell tea and cheese from my house, but now I think it's a pretty good idea, especially if it'll:
1) keep me from having to work for someone else
2) get me closer to opening an actual storefront

FOOD TIME on WFMU Tonight!

So your pal Wendy will be appearing as her alter ego, The Cheese Snob, on "Safe and Sound" with Trent, tonight on WFMU 91.1 fm or on here in the Internet.

Ok, enough writing in the third person. What is this, a Facebook status?

Anyway, yeah, tonight from 8-11 pm (eastern time), tune in to Trent's program for a special FOOD TIME event. There will be WFMU DJs and other friends of the station (like me!) presenting our favorite recipes, foods, etc. Cooking will happen LIVE on-the-air, and so will eating!

I will be presenting on cheese, of course, and I'm bringing one special cheese to share with Trent and to share with YOU. If you want to play along at home, go to your neighborhood cheesemonger and buy a piece of Piave Stravecchio.

It should not be regular Piave. It's not that I have anything against it, but it's not aged as long as Stravecchio so there will be some differences.

Stravecchio's paper label is red. Regular Piave's label is blue.

So yeah, my slot, "Cheese Chat," is scheduled for 9:50pm-10:00pm, right after Bethany Ryker's "Fine Wine Time." How apropos! But folks, this IS live radio, so the times may not be exact. You'd be safe (and sound) to tune in to the ENTIRE program.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Yesterday I went to Fish's Eddy on 19th and Broadway to look for some dishes, glasses, teapots, etc. for the cafe. What I found was a whole lot of inspiration. I love that store, and part of why I want to have a cafe at all is so I can buy all my dishes there. Of course they will be mis-matched. Who do you think is writing this thing anyway?

Fish's Eddy buys up entire lots of dishes from defunct restaurants, country clubs and the like. It's all pretty much Homer Laughlin or other "sturdy-ware" china, and you can find great patterns from different eras. Lots of vintage stuff. Many of my dishes at home come from there and I've found some cool items there. It's perfect for someone like me who wants to open a cafe, needs sturdy dishes, but wants them to be interesting.


I picked up a 2-cup teapot; it's just plain white. I have a 2-cup Tetsubin here at home, but that's my only teapot. I want to have a 2-cup regular ol' porcelain teapot because I'd like to develop a line of tea cozies to sell on Etsy. I will knit these cozies and use a little crocheting in there, too. But first I have to learn to crochet. It shouldn't be that hard. So the new teapot will also serve as my model.

Anyway, once I get the tea cozies on Etsy, I can link my Etsy page to my (soon-to-be) online cheese and tea shop. Cross-merchandising Baby, gotta love it!

Also, as much as I am positive my shop will be successful, I also know in the beginning of the storefront's existence there will be quite a bit of downtime. After I've made all my orders, made sure the cheese is all taken care of, etc., I'm going to need something to do. So, I'll bring my knitting needles and yarn and make some handicrafts I can also sell and use at the shop.

So yeah, I got the 2-cup teapot at Fish's Eddy. I also bought two different tall, sturdy drinking glasses for the iced tea (and for water). One is tougher but plain; the less-tough one has a nice graphic on it that looks like an old milk bottle label. I'm going to use them at home and see if the dairy-label one is sturdy enough for cafe use. Of course I could have both kinds at my cafe, but I'd love to have a bunch of the dairy ones, for obvious reasons.

I also got a vintage colored glass cow figurine. It will sit on my stovetop with my Holstein creamer until I have my shop, at which point it will be part of the decor.

If I had more money I would have just bought boxes and boxes of dishes and glasses and cups and such last night, but I also would have had to carry them around, and I need to wait until it's a better time to do that with my business's money.

I asked the clerk if Fish's Eddy does any kind of volume discount for restaurants and cafes. Turns out they do! You just have to bring your Tax ID (shoulda done that yesterday...) and some sort of business card or something and they won't charge you sales tax (whoops), they'll give you at least 10% off, and maybe more depending on how much you buy.

This may actually make more sense than buying my dishes from a restaurant-supply place like Hubert (as much as I love Hubert) because this will save me on shipping.