On Tuesday 17th April The Farm Shop & Deli Show Live Stage will see Patricia Michelson, the Founder & Director of La Fromagerie London, talking in depth about cheeses and creating the ultimate, customer-pleasing cheese counter. With tasting opportunities and plenty of advice, this interactive session will also see Patricia discussing life as an independent retailer and how to attract customers. We caught up with Patricia ahead of the show to find out more about what she has in store for the session.
Making your cheese offer work for you
Patricia advised that it’s important to know how to stock a counter, how to position and label the cheeses and merchandise other products to make it look interesting and worth buying. She explained: “So often the Cheese counter can look like a great deal of choice but with very little to identify itself with.”
She continued: “My session will go through understanding how each section of the shop/deli performs with each product. We’ll be looking at ways of correctly placing products relating to the cheeses to get the maximum interest not only in the particular product but how it works with the cheese.”
Patricia also plans to cover getting to know your customer and the importance of bringing local producers into the shop.
Business growth and change
The session will delve into how a successful cheese offer can really make a difference to your business, Patricia told us: “You can only get out what you put in. So, listen and ask questions – I want to hear of problems and also fears. It is often the fear of making changes that makes you think the product will not work for you. Once you understand the merchandise and how to show it and talk about it you will be able to sell it and make a return.”
Words of wisdom
Having started her business in 1991 and seen it expand and go from strength to strength since then, we thought we’d ask for any words of business wisdom for independent retailers. Patricia’s advice was clear: “Think local, seasonal and honest – if your customers trust your judgement with the products you are selling, and you provide a range that works on several levels, and above all you give information about your producers and local people who are producers then your customers will love you for it.”
Finally, we asked her what she’s most looking forward to about the show and she told us: “I love meeting people who are from different parts of Britain and finding out how business is for them and what they are trying to achieve. I want to show that being an independent shopkeeper is the glue to a community and a shopping street, whether in a village, town or within a farm, is still relevant and important to the way we live. How we get customers to come and shop with us is what we will be discussing.”
You can hear more from Patricia Michelson and sample some special English cheeses in her talk Counter culture: celebrating English cheese, Tuesday 17th April 15:00pm - 15:30pm at the Farm Shop & Deli Live Stage.