Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Visit to Brix Wines and Barnyard Cheese Shop on Avenue B

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

During my recent visit to sister shops Brix Wine and Barnyard Cheese, several neighbors dropped by to tell owner Beatriz Gutierrez how pleased they were that the longtime businesses were still up and running to serve the East Village.

In February, Barnyard temporarily closed on Avenue B between 10th Street and 11th Street with a rather cryptic note for patrons. However, the shop reopened in April — at the same time, Brix moved one storefront to the north, leaving a vacant space between the two businesses. 

Gutierrez told me more about the temporary closure, plans for the storefront that now separates Barnyard and Brix, and her deep appreciation for her customers. 
There’s been a lot of change in your shops recently. Can you explain what happened with the temporary closure, the moving of locations, and what you plan to do with the new space in the middle?

Barnyard's temporary closure allowed us to rethink the layout in anticipation of the city and state's capacity guidelines. We desperately needed to have people come into the store since most of what we offer is visual — the cheeses, jams, fresh bread, house-made prepacked foods, etc. We were able to do that, and it seems to be working. 

As for Brix, the closure of Barnyard gave us the time to move the wine shop to the space next door, which is bigger and provided space to carry and store more inventory. It was a blessing in disguise. 

The middle space — still in the conception stage — will be an extension of both Brix and Barnyard. A sort of Adult Learning Center, if you will, where we plan to have tastings, culinary classes, advanced and specialized wine seminars, cheese school, and private gatherings.  

How do you see the local economy shaping up as we continue to move into a recovery phase from the pandemic?

I see a better tomorrow for everyone. Although we are still recovering from more than a year of hardship caused by the pandemic, we managed to survive, and since reopening, the East Village has come back to support us and a collective sigh of relief has been breathed by everyone. 

The support, gratitude, and well wishes have been overwhelming and so appreciated. We are grateful to everyone who came back through our doors. 

As a small-business owner, what were some of the lessons learned from the pandemic?

So many things have been learned, but I’d say the top three are: Never give up. You have a purpose. Loyalty is everything. 
What do you have to say about your regulars and other patrons these past 15-plus months?

I'd have to say that they are the most supportive and wonderful customers a small business could hope for. We are able to exist because of them. We strive to create a place that provides something useful, serves it with pride and a good attitude, and make a visit something they can count on in the future.

I really believe our customers get that at Brix and Barnyard. They have come back and continue to do so. I can't thank our neighbors enough for sticking by us.  

What's next for the shops?

What's next is the middle store. It has to be something that enhances the neighborhood and fills a void. What do we need? Stay tuned.
Barnyard Cheese is at 168 Avenue B and Brix Wines is at 170 Avenue B. 

Barnyard hours:
Monday — Saturday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Brix hours:
Sunday — Thursday: Noon to 8 p.m; until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday


Beacon, NY said...

Barnyard Cheese is indeed one of the best essential businesses in the EV. My favorite sandwich is the Greatest American Hero and their potato chips imported from Spain top any organic chips sold in Whole Foods.

I also think it has an alter ego in Beacon.

Choresh Wald said...

Love Barnyard Cheese and salute their work to make Avenue B better for people.

Jose Garcia said...

So thrilled when Barnyard reopened. Amazing food, terrific, friendly service. We've tried twice to buyt something at Brix and sent a few friends there too but were met with less than friendly grunts by the fellow there so we figured maybe we are not the sort of customers they are looking for so now we go to other places for wines and gifts of booze. But long live the Mexican Cubano and Meatball heroes at Banyard! xo, JG

MTAtoxic said...

What a wonderful business to have in the neighborhood!

Anonymous said...

Love Barnyard and the folks that work there - gimme the tomato soup!