Even though she grew up around her parents’ specialty food shops, Amy Burritt had no desire to follow in their professional footsteps. Instead, she got a degree in communications and spent 15 years in marketing. But in May 2020, she left her career in pursuit of something “a little more tangible,” she says.
She got what she was least expecting – a breast cancer diagnosis, in July. After surgery, she took time to decompress and ponder her future. She also spent some time in Asheville, working in her parents’ cheese and wine shop. By November, she had signed a lease in West End Shopping Center to open a cheese shop with her friend Cheri Intveld.
Euphoric Cheese opened in February of this year. Amy is still blown away by the level of support they’ve received from the community.
“It feels to us like the whole community jumped on board immediately.”
It’s not just a cheese shop. Before customers make it to the counter, they are immersed in a sea of accoutrements – chocolates, crackers, nuts, smoked meats, jams, dried fruit, olives and craft beers – along with a collection of beautiful serving boards and knives.
Amy and Cheri love being at West End. They like the other tenants, and the school traffic is great for business. Being in the right place mattered a lot, given that the shop didn’t exactly open at the right time. But Amy thinks the pandemic spawned a new appreciation for their products.
“Cheese and charcuterie bring people together,” she says.
Many of their customers say they were just waiting for a specialty cheese shop. New customers continue to pour in expressing excitement, and some have said Farragut has finally “made it” now that it has a cheese shop. Others have said they now skip the cheese section at the grocery store in order to support the shop.
The women would need every bit of support they could muster in April, when Cheri received her own breast cancer diagnosis. The odds of two healthy, active women in their 30s receiving this diagnosis within months of each other is mind-boggling.
“If it weren’t so awful, it would’ve been funny,” Amy said last week as she managed the shop on her own. Cheri was having a particularly difficult week.
Even through this, the business partners are buoyed by the community. Every week, a customer comes in to talk about her own cancer or that of a friend or relative.
“It opens doors for conversations we never would have had,” Amy says.
They’ll keep having those conversations as they serve cut-to-order cheese. The selection changes weekly, and customers are welcome to sample before they buy.
“There’s no grocery store roulette here,” she laughs.
The staff is also happy to consult on the pairing of cheese with food or drink and advise on what to add to a charcuterie board. Another popular option is to have Euphoric put together a to-go charcuterie box, customized for group size. Each comes with a basic selection of items that can be tailored to personal taste.
Opening a small business always brings challenges, and Amy and Cheri have faced more than most owners. But, from the beginning, Farragut was just the location they were looking for, and they couldn’t have received better support from the community.
“It’s just a level of compassion and understanding that has been a huge, wonderful surprise.”
Euphoric Cheese is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.