How did you come up with your business idea?
I had had my food truck for several years and was ready to expand. I didn’t want to do a full blown C’est Cheese restaurant, so the idea for Share Cheesebar came from my love of cheese shops and bistros around the country that I had been to. I took some of my favorite aspects of many different places and tweaked them to fit with what Cincinnati needed.
What exactly is your business?
Share Cheesebar is part retail cheese shop, you can come in and get anything cut to order out of our case. We’ve got a variety of products that pair perfectly with cheese such as crackers, olives, preserves, nuts, wine, etc. We also have 25 seats for people to come in and enjoy a cheese or cheese & charcuterie board and other tasty cheese related dishes like Fondue!
How did you find out about Aviatra?
When I moved back to Cincinnati to start my first business C’est Cheese, my mom had read an article in the Enquirer about Bad Girl Ventures. I was already working with a SCORE counselor as well who encouraged me to apply.
What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?
Providing jobs for people. Although we don’t employ a ton of people, I’ve been able to cultivate several long term relationships with people who work with me. It’s the first key to a successful business in my opinion!
What was the most valuable thing you gained from your experience?
Relationships developed with my customers is so valuable to me. So many have become very close friends – who knew grilled cheese could bring people together like that?! 😉
How did Aviatra help you out?
The networking opportunities were so valuable to me. Same with the marketing & press – before we were officially open we were in the paper several times and starting to build word of mouth.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?
Finding a work – life balance. I was all in from day 1, but looking back I see that other things in my life suffered because of it. My health & personal relationships the most.
Where are you now?
I’m in an amazing place right now! Share Cheesebar is doing really well and we’re growing every month. I’m thinking long term now and exploring opportunities to grow the business. I have the most amazing team who has really excelled and allowed me to not be at the shop 24/7 which is pretty awesome too!
Do you have a mentor? In what ways did they help you?
100% I have a mentor – Jane Vanderhorst!! Jane was my original SCORE counselor and then came on the Bad Girl Ventures ride with me. We still talk regularly and meet to catch up on business, family, you name it! Her son Parker even worked for me on the truck for 2 seasons! Jane is more than my mentor; she has become like family.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
On a remote island somewhere, ha! Seriously – I have no idea! I hope that there are other Share Cheesebar locations throughout the region.
Any advice for future Aviatras?
Take advantage of everything Aviatra has to offer! Classes, mentors, networking events, etc. Also – remember that you have to put the work in and do your homework! What is your industry doing? Who are your competitors in the city? What can you do differently to stand out? You’re not going to get these answers by having coffee with someone in the industry (i hate those “can I pick your brain” requests by the way). Do your research, read, travel, crunch the numbers – DO THE WORK!