Ellis & Co Case Study: Chester Cheese Shop

You are here: Home » News & Views » Ellis & Co Case Study: Chester Cheese Shop

  • Our Case Studies
Image for Ellis & Co Case Study: Chester Cheese Shop

Carole Faulkner, a farmer’s daughter and former cheesemaker, is one of Chester’s best loved shopkeepers.

That’s partly because she has been running the Chester Cheese Shop for 34 years but, equally, because of the wonderful array of cheeses she has for sale.

Carole originally opened her shop on Northgate Street because she could not find quality cheeses for the cheese board at a city restaurant she used to own.

Initially, she continued to run both the Cheese Shop and the restaurant, but soon found working two businesses exhausting.

Carole said: “I was doing too much and had to make a decision. I decided to sell the restaurant and concentrate full-time on the Cheese Shop. It also meant I got my evenings back!

“It was a stroke of luck that led me to find the shop. The chap who used to own the shop, when it sold videos, was a regular in the restaurant for lunch. I found out he was fed up and looking to get out.”

The Cheese Shop predominantly sells British cheeses with a small selection coming from France, Italy and Switzerland. Carole is passionate about only taking her cheeses from small producers.

She said: “I need to know that the cheeses have been made on the farm with milk from cows which graze outside. I have visited all of the producers so I know exactly how their cattle are looked after and the importance of animal welfare.

“When the cheeses arrive at the shop, we are able to store them in our cellar, turning them every day. The temperature-controlled environment ensures they remain in the best possible condition.”

Carole, who lives in Willington, is one of only a handful of specialist cheese shops in the UK. In addition to her regular customers and a constant stream of tourists, she sells to smaller independent shops, hotels and restaurants in Cheshire.

Such is the shop’s popularity that each Christmas a steady queue of loyal customers forms on Northgate Street.

Carole joked: “I have customers who tell me they actually enjoy queuing for their cheese!”

Ellis & Co chartered accountants has been looking after the Chester Cheese Shop for more than 10 years.

Carole said: “Robert Ellis and his team are fantastic. They look after my accounts and payroll and it is very convenient knowing they are above me on Northgate Street. It means I can pop up if I have any questions. I am also enthusiastic about supporting other local businesses.”

Carole, who employs one full-time person and 3 part-time, is a member of the Cheese Makers Association and is also a regular competition judge.

As for Carole’s personal favourites, she says: “I typically prefer hard cheeses like Double Gloucester and, of course, Cheshire. Cheshire is the oldest British cheese on record and is said to have been mentioned in the Domesday Book. Not surprisingly, it’s also my best selling cheese.”

Despite having been a permanent fixture in Chester for over three decades, Carole shows no sign of slowing down.

“Every Christmas, I joke that this will be my last one but the next one comes along and I’m still here. I can’t imagine retiring – I enjoy chatting to my customers. Some of them started coming into the shop as little children and now they are coming in with their children.”