Say Cheese!Jun 01
It’s virtually a universal commodity, but Murray Budden’s passion for cheese and gourmet cooking finally trumped his desire to be working for somebody else. Now a year into his venture, Murray’s store, The Cheese Shop in Point Edward, is the culmination of his entrepreneurial dream, attracting chefs, gourmet cooks and cheese aficionados from all walks of life.
One can argue that cheese can be found at any corner or grocery store, but Murray accesses national and international suppliers that can bring in virtually any product that is requested by consumers or that befits a special occasion – and he keeps his prices reasonable by comparing them to those of local grocers constantly.
Like any competent entrepreneur, Murray knows that value-added is a very important component to a commodity-based business, so he has augmented his work by adding courses that enable the consumer to “Cook with Chefs”. In an ever-increasing cyber marketing world, Murray has a form prominently displayed on his counter inviting clients to provide email addresses if they want to sign up for events like these cooking classes or learn about other special events and new products. His Cooking with Chefs series has often been sold out the morning after he emails such clients. He has even had Chef Andrea Nicholson, host of “Restaurant Makeover”, make a celebrity appearance in his cooking courses.
What were some of the major surprises Murray encountered upon opening his own business?
“The amount of infrastructure”, Murray explains, “Everything from accounting to inventory controls to understanding government quotas on importing cheese. Keeping a handle on your finances is paramount. “
Understanding cheese and giving expert advice to one`s customers doesn’t happen overnight either. Every day, patrons ask about the appropriate wine to serve with their cheese selection, or inquire about cooking with various varieties. Learning all this, staying on top of competitive pricing and then simply running the store would seemingly be overwhelming but Murray credits his fellow entrepreneurs for keeping him sane.
“Some fellow entrepreneurs with a lot more experience under their belts have not only given me sound advice about accountants, marketing and business plans, but a lot of them have become very good friends. It is very important to network among like-minded businessmen“, explains Murray. `Something I like to call the great spirit of entrepreneurial support.“
Murray stresses that when it comes to a business plan, it is best to `start conservatively“ and ensure you do the proper surveys and market research. If you’re looking to borrow, check out all the available options. “Don`t make quick decisions, and know that there`s a light at the end of the tunnel.` For Murray, that light is now being shed on a fast-growing number of clientele.