Nothing frustrates turophiles more than a lack of good cheese. When Julie Austin officially opened Chasing the Cheese in Peterborough, Ontario, she’d already served as an unofficial local supplier for a few years, taking orders from friends and neighbors on her frequent visits to Toronto. She streamlined the process by creating a group notice email—and as her loyal following grew from 12 to 300 addresses, opening a retail space seemed a natural transition. As both a businesswoman and a mother, Austin combines her roles easily. Opening a business “is not unlike nurturing a child and making them grow,” she says.
Now a bustling shop that offers cheese, charcuterie, jams, and much more from nearby and international suppliers, Chasing the Cheese provides a welcome stop for cheese lovers. Future plans include a catering kitchen and a space for private events and tastings. While the growth is exciting, Austin remains committed to her roots: the chase for delicious cheese.
culture: Where did the name “Chasing the Cheese” come from?
Julie Austin: My world involves a lot of kid stuff. I thought, “I bet there’s a Sesame Street reference to cheese.” So I Googled it, and, sure enough, there was a Sesame Street skit called “Chasing the Cheese.”
culture: What can a new customer expect when they walk in?
JA: We’re here to make sure it’s not overwhelming for them. Cheese is only four ingredients. It’s supposed to be enjoyable.
culture: What’s the most important aspect of the cheese business?
JA: It is a labor of love. That’s what this is about. People come in here and we get to know them and hear their stories.
330 Charlotte St.
Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Photography by Esther Vincent