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Meet the Artisans Who Make Your Cheese Grottos

The holidays are always a wild time for small businesses like Cheese Grotto—and with the pandemic, supply chain issues, and the growing support of dedicated cheese lovers like yourselves, 2022 is shaping up to be busier than usual. The good news is that we’re better prepared for the bustling holiday season than ever!

Meet Team Grotto

 wooden cheese storage box with piece of blue cheese in it on countertop with wine bottle and strawberries

It’s all thanks to our amazing partners—themselves small, mission-driven businesses—who build each Grotto, shape each clay brick, and pack each order before it arrives on your doorstep. Cheese Grotto founder Jessica Sennett spent months researching manufacturers and fulfillment centers so that we could add new production partners and get Grottos to our customers in time for the holidays.

We want to highlight their talent and skill so you can understand the craft and expertise that goes into every order. Here’s a look behind the scenes at how our Grottos are made.

Donovan Hulbert Is Our Woodworker Extraordinaire

woodworker in wood shop uses a drill press to make holes in the back panel of wooden cheese grotto

Our awesome woodworker, Donovan Hulbert, has been building Cheese Grottos for us since 2018. Based in the Catskills, he’s an essential part of our operation. His commitment to quality craftsmanship in manufacturing each of the four Grotto models is invaluable.

Donovan cuts, sands, engraves, and fastens each piece of Baltic birch and bamboo that goes into each model using both hand and computer techniques. The fine details and consistent quality we love about each Grotto model need an expert woodworker to execute. We couldn’t have developed our product line without Donovan’s dedication and skill.

Ceramicist Eric Rausch Crafts Our Clay Bricks

ceramicist eric rausch in front of a brick mural

The Grotto provides the perfect conditions for storing cheese unwrapped because of its humidifying clay brick. We work with Eric Rausch, a master ceramics artist based in Columbus, Ohio. He ensures that each brick is pressed and kiln-dried with no cracks and continually tests our bricks for absorbency and porosity so they maintain the perfect humidity for your cheese.

We’ve been working with Eric for three years, and we couldn’t be happier to have him and his high-quality craftsmanship on Team Grotto. Each clay brick is handmade and stamped with Kiln Room, the name of his studio, on the bottom and with the Cheese Grotto logo on top.

Growing Our Grotto Production

big pile of cheese grotto mezzos on pallet wrapped in clear plastic in warehouse

Cheese Grotto is still a really small business by manufacturing standards, but we’ve grown a lot in the past few years. To keep up with demand and help Donovan manage his workload, we’ve moved a large portion of our Grotto Mezzo production to Fortner Fine Custom Furniture in Ohio.

We love that this partnership grew out of another relationship in the Cheese Grotto network. Thanks to a connection from Eric, whose studio operates out of the Fortner building in Columbus, we can collaborate with a family-owned business that’s operated since 1929. The quality of their work is impeccable, and we’re so grateful they’ve helped us scale up.

The Last Stop Before Your Doorstep

Once our Grottos are ready to go, they head to our fulfillment center, Coarc Manufacturing. Just 45 minutes from Donovan’s woodshop in upstate New York, they’re a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to providing training and job opportunities for people with disabilities. There, workers carefully pack each Grotto before it heads off to its new home.

Thanks to these indispensable partners, we’re proud to say that we’ve got more Grottos stocked and ready to go for your holiday gifting than ever before! It’s important that we work with other small businesses that share our values. We hope you’ll think of all the hard work, craftsmanship, and dedication that went into our beautiful Grottos each time you reach for a piece of delicious artisan cheese.

What holiday cheese gifts are you seeking out for loved ones this year? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!

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