The well-known Main Street cheese, beer and wine shop C’est Cheese announced its doors would close July 8. By Sunday, July 12 at 6 p.m., the store’s doors were shut.
The shop, known for its bevy selection of artisanal cheeses, beers, wines and coffee, announced its closing on Facebook, saying, “Your support throughout the last nine years have been overwhelming,” adding, “in this industry we have a saying the cheese fam is the best fam, and could not be happier with the family we made with the love of cheese.”
Owner Joe Ciardullo opened up the shop in September 2011. The 14-year Port Jeff resident said the COVID-19 pandemic had definitely impacted his business, though it was secondary to the main reason he is closing his business.
“In terms of my decision making, running a business is challenging — the day-to-day operations got to be very overwhelming in these times,” Ciardullo said. “Working in food service, it’s a fickle town. There’s not a lot of businesses that last. I’ve been fortunate to have lasted this long.”
He thanked the numerous customers who have patronized his shop over the years. On Friday, July 10, customers formed a line running along the sidewalk to get one last chance to say goodbye to the shop.
The pandemic has been a roller coaster, Ciardullo said, and the business has had to “reinvent ourselves every few weeks,” which grew into a challenge: from the initial wave that meant he had to lay off staff and establish a delivery service, to allowing outdoor dining, to finally allowing some indoor dining. The worst of it was when some customers would come into the shop not wearing masks, though the owner constantly requested they do so.
“When Phase 3 came along, that became the wake-up call that I needed to do something different — I wasn’t comfortable allowing people in my shop without masks.”
Though for right now he’s focused on selling shop equipment, he said plans for after that are still up in the air, though he plans on spending a little more time with his family.