Jesse and Brittany have been married nearly nine years, and both have worked in the local food scene for over a decade. They both worked in several natural food-focused grocery stores – Brittany as a designer in the marketing departments and Jesse in the specialty food departments. During these years, Jesse developed an appreciation for the complex world of cheese: the craftsmanship, the flavors, and the people who produce them.
Eventually he enrolled in the American Cheese Society’s inaugural class to become a Certified Cheese Professional. He took his final exam at the American Cheese Conference in 2012, which Brittany attended with him. They were both amazed by the intricate world of artisan cheese production. They knew they wanted to share their knowledge with the world, so the idea of a specialty cheese shop was solidified.
The pair began casually looking for locations for the shop. They really wanted to be on Main Street but weren’t having much luck finding a place. One day, Brittany’s former employer called Jesse to ask him a question about cheese. As they spoke, Jesse asked the gentleman about a building he owned on Main Street, and with a stroke of luck, he agreed to rent it to them.
In 2015, before opening, they welcomed their first child, their daughter Amelia Bleu. And in 2017, their family grew again when their son Henry Fox was born. Their children’s middle names now compose the name of their business. “Amelia tells people her name is ‘Amelia Bleu Fox Cheese Shop’ now,” Brittany laughs. But in truth, the shop does feel like one happy family, hard at work. Brittany and Jesse brought on a few of their trusted friends whom they had met in the local food industry over the years. And many afternoons, the kids can be found at the counter, snacking on some cheesy treat being handed to them by one of the staff members as they package new products.
“We only stock it if we love it. We’re looking for quality in each individual cheese type.”
– Jesse Watlington