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Press Release – Fair Food Matters’ Can-Do Kitchen celebrates second incubator graduate

March 22, 2011

From a Fair Food Matters press release…..

The Fair Food Matters’ Can-Do Kitchen, the region’s only commercial kitchen/business incubator, has graduated its second business in five months: Natalie St. Louis has launched her own retail shop.

The Cheese Lady, an 800-square foot shop located at 7035 West Q Avenue in Kalamazoo’s Texas Corners (near the “Fresh on Q” Farmers’ Market), will be a purveyor of fine cheeses, specialty foods, cheese boards and knives, farmers’ market baskets, and eventually, beer and wine. Combining the feel of an old world European market with a bistro, The Cheese Lady will offer 50 different cheeses, some local – such as Reny Picot from Benton Harbor – as well those from other states, and imports from around the world.

St. Louis originally found inspiration in a Muskegon store of the same name. The owner of that store took St. Louis under her wing, and encouraged her to open her own retail location.

In June 2010, St. Louis got started in the Can-Do Kitchen, repackaging bulk cheeses for retail sale. The Can-Do Kitchen provided her with food safety training, help in obtaining her own food license, and a low-risk environment in which to start small and find her niche. Selling her local, domestic and imported cheeses under the name “Say Cheese!” at local farmers’ markets, St. Louis built a network of loyal customers.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The shop is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The Cheese Lady is the second successful graduate of the Can-Do Kitchen, joining Kurry Guru, maker of ready-to-eat, vegetarian Indian meals.

The Can-Do Kitchen, a program of Fair Food Matters, incubates small food businesses and increases the availability of foods made locally with local ingredients. Later this year, the Can-Do Kitchen will relocate to a brand new facility in the new People’s Food Co-op building (507 Harrison Street).

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