Friday, April 22, 2016

Concern for East Village Cheese Shop



East Village Cheese Shop opened in its new home on Seventh Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue last Sept. 29.

The shop's lease at 40 Third Ave. between East Ninth Street and East 10th Street was up at the end of last July, with its former neighbor Duane Reade apparently moving into the adjacent storefronts.

Based on reader comments ... and conversations with friends and neighbors, people were pleased that the store was able to stay in the neighborhood, albeit in a smaller space.

However, a few people who shop here regularly have concerns about its financial health. Per an EVG reader: "East Village Cheese went back to cash only and the minimum counter order went up to half a pound from a quarter-pound."



The reader feels as if these are bad signs... along with the fact that there's rarely anyone in the store upon the reader's visits...

The shop is usually also empty when I stop in ... and it certainly lacks the energy of the Third Avenue space. Another EVG reader felt similarly about St. Mark's Bookshop moving from Third Avenue to East Third Street .. the the store just lost something in the new location on a side street.

Said the Cheese Shop regular: "I would be so sad to lose it after the long wait for it to reopen."

Updated 4/23

A few people asked about this. The owners Thupten Tenphel and Lobbing Tsultrim, who are from Tibet, worked at the shop... and bought it from owner Alvin Kaufman when he retired in 2005.

Thanks to Steven for the photos!

Previously on EV Grieve:
Rumors: Duane Reade expansion will take over adjacent storefronts, including East Village Cheese (74 comments)

[Updated] Confirmed: East Village Cheese will be moving to Avenue A later this year

East Village Cheese makes move to 7th Street official

[Updated] Work starts on new home of the East Village Cheese Shop

Looking at the incoming East Village Cheese shop on East 7th Street

32 comments:

Gojira said...

Oh man, if they closed that would stink like ripe Limburger. I'll go drop some long green today.

Anonymous said...

It's been busy whenever I walked in . . . but the range of products,and sale items, had decreased. One of the counter persons, in explanation, said they were still paying off the rent from the old place.

Andy said...

Dear East Village Cheese,
Stay open until at least 7 on weekdays so that people can support your store after a day earning income that is required to live in NY.
Thank you,

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why they don't take credit or debit cards. It's the convenience that is now the norm. Even street vendors have a Square.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the real estate guy who rented them the space should have been concerned about the walk by traffic and less of his pocket. Just sayin

Anonymous said...

I make a special trip there once a week...sometimes it's busy, but most afternoons it's pretty quiet. Staying open until 7 would probably help them. Saturdays seem busy!

Anonymous said...

Then we as neighbors should buy cheese only from here.

Anonymous said...

It ain't a 'nice thing' like a Michelin starred restaurant or a market for cupcakes or designer bagel store.

Anonymous said...

I still go there even though I'm around the corner from the old place but the stock is so limited that if I wasn't riding my bike I would think it's a waste of time. I don't understand the mentality of not filling the place with food, that's what we all loved about the old place. The new owners have diminished the stock since they bought it a few years ago from the original owners, its been on steady decline even before the move.

Anonymous said...

It's good the word is getting out that they need business. I will make sure to head over there. It would also help if they expanded their hours during the week. Open in the early afternoon and stay open until 8 or 9 so people can stop by after work.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if they made the place look a little nicer and not like a "pop-up" shop, more people would be inclined to walk in. Plus, from what numerous people have said, their quality has really gone down the tubes, not to mention the terrible customer service. And now "no credit cards" - it seems like management is trying to avoid taxes instead of giving customers what they want. There's a reason places like this go under.

Anonymous said...

Credit card fees for small businesses are high. Maybe they should switch to Square which is more reasonable. If you can, pass that on to them. I wish them luck.

bkue gass said...

the new place is much smaller and does not ecourage impulse shopping, perhaps because they've had to limit their stock so much. the choice of what they sell has not kept up with what customers want.
perhaps in addition to staying open a little later they should ask what items people want to buy.
in the old store their breads were sold out by the time i got there, not now, and there are very few sales that tempt me.
but i go there to try and help keep them in the neighborhood.
our strefronts are now mostly bars and restaurants and clubs.

nygrump said...

I just popped in to buy a roll for lunch. Some soup from the Polish market around the corner on 1st and a good lunch is to be had.

They always required a half pound minimum, I thought, and I applaud their NO SAMPLING rule.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 9:19. I don't live far from the old shop; I confess that once the Westside Market opened, I did more buying of cheese there. The selection was far greater, the overall quality of the cheese was better at Westside, and the prices comparable. When East Village Cheese was in the painful process of leaving Third Avenue, many posters here noted that the quality of the cheese and the selection had gone downhill. I would like to see support for EV Cheese, they are nice people (champion Tibetan debaters).

Anonymous said...

Many of you don't realize that this is the third location for the store in the EV. It used to be where Whiskers pet store is on E. 9th before it moved to Third Avenue. It's success was always due to the fact that the turnover was huge due to the great prices they gave that were achieved by minimum size purchases - usually 1/4 lb. or more - and they were cash only...saving the customer 2-4% that would have to be added on if they took credit cards.
But it was always well lit, organized and clean looking. The new incarnation is small, looks dumpy and disorganized. Almost as if they don't care or just expect customers to overlook all of that.
They need to put in some better lighting, clean up their look and just be more charming in general if they are going to last. Right now...after 30 years of shopping with them, I don't really want to anymore because of this dreary look. A food store should say..."hi...I'm clean...come eat my food." This store says...."hey, nothing to see here, keep walking."

Anonymous said...

It's almost always closed when I go to shop there. I agree with Andy above, stay open just a little later on weekdays. Give us a little more time to come by after work.

JG said...

There's never any music on when I'm shopping. It's so deadly quiet. Is this the same for other people? I feel as if they could have something on such as WQXR playing. They don't need to go crazy and play KTU.

cmarrtyy said...

Personally I like the owners but they are not very good at retail. Even the new location is a death trap - there's little or no walking traffic. That and the bread stinks. No salt, soggy and pricey. I told them but they haven't done anything about it. I wish them well but i fear for the worst.

Anonymous said...

The shop is not the same..I agree there is little foot traffic and they should be oprn later..

NOTORIOUS said...

When I'm in the mood for cheese I get it from Westside Market because I'm already there. They also give samples and do a better job at helping me find something new and answering questions. All of their cheese isn't locked behind cases. I always felt rushed at East Village Cheese.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of St. Mark's Books. Think you can move to a new location and live off your reputation while taking customers for granted and not doing anything to adapt your business model. I spend as much money as I can in the hood and even tolerate the stuff I just mentioned if someone seems interested in adapting their business model to customer needs. There seem to be enough people going in and out of there and from the comments here asking for things, yet they want adapt. Unfortunately they won't survive if they won't even try to step up there game.

EVQP said...

I worry about them too, having followed and shopped with them from E. 9th Street to 3rd Avenue to 7th Street. They're definitely not as busy, nor do they have the selection they used to, and their space is much smaller than the prior two spaces (where Whiskers is was as awkwardly configured as the current space, just bigger). But it seems people are still finding them (when I was there yesterday, a woman walked in and said "Oh, this is where you've landed!")...

BTW, their minimum has always been a half pound, with a few exceptions for more expensive items, like smoked salmon (which they used to sell "loose" but don't any longer) and prosciutto.

I definitely agree that 7pm closing is a good idea - what's another 1/2 hour, if it could help to save their business? I'll mention that the next time I'm in.

Me.Bo.Re said...

It's been busy the few times I've been there, but the customer service is sub-par, the customers rude, and the minimum purchase sizes are more than I as a single person can eat or afford. I would LOVE to support them; fulfilling that desire is harder on me than I'd like it to be. It's also hard to get there when they are open, and I live around the block!

Anonymous said...

Let's make something clear--the current owners were never on 9th Street. That location and then the location on Third Avenue (for many many years)was owned by several family members. They phased themselves out over a period of time after they agreed to sell to the group of Tibetans. The current management / owners had nothing to do with 9th Street. I am sorry I don't know how many years the group of Tibetans have owned the shop.

AGosfield said...

I went to the old store a couple of times a week for the great Balthazar bread. I've been to the new store a few times and they keep saying maybe they'll carry it again... The bread brought me in and I'd buy other stuff while I was there.
More Balthazar bread! It makes EV Cheese a destination.

johnsemlak said...

The 2.4 savings only saves customers if you have cash. This isn't the 80s.

Anonymous said...

I don't think every place in the world has to take credit cards. If you know you are going there bring some cash.

Will NYC said...

The original shop on 3rd Avenue was one of the absolute JOYS of living in the East Village. They always carried the most unusual and great products at rock bottom prices. I mean where can I find imported French butter with sea salt for $2.49 or some such thing? When I saw they were closing I was MORTIFIED.

I've been to the new space several times and I'm so so sorry to say that it doesn't come close to the former. I used spend easily $40-50 a visit but now there's really nothing to spend so much money on. They always had 3-5 people working at one time and now it's often only 1, so waiting to pay even for a small grocery item can take a long time.

It's all so sad. I don't see them being able to continue in their current transformation. As one who considered himself a great customer previously, I just don't see the store as having nearly as much to offer any longer and I'm very very saddened by this fact.

Anonymous said...

So it seems like a case of the present owners failing to maintain the vision of the original owners. Story of the world really.

Anonymous said...

They were doing fine on third avenue until the reedy landlords opted to throw them out and replace them by a higher-payer tenant selling cheesy stuff.

Anonymous said...

There's an old saying about not accepting credit/debit cards: Penny wise, pound foolish.