Antonelli's Cheese Shop
We are Austin’s first cut-to-order specialty cheese retailer with 2 locations and an ecommerce site. We also manage the cheese program for 175 restaurants in Texas and host over 200 events per year.
What makes your business one of the best small businesses in your community?
Antonelli’s Cheese opened in 2010 after a honeymoon decision to quit our jobs in pursuit of a passion with purpose. We are guided by our mission: Do Good. Eat Good. We source from makers who treat lands sustainably and herds humanely, pay fair wages, and source materials ethically. We operate greenly and pay above Austin's living wage plus benefits and initiatives to support staff development- uncommon in the food industry. We give back through in-kind donations, volunteering, and loaned expertise. We define our community as our local Austin community, the national cheese community, and our global food system and have supported over 400 nonprofits. Named one of the best cheese shops in America by Travel + Leisure Magazine and voted Local Heroes 7 years, the business is now 39 team members; two shops (including a bistro); an ecommerce site; wholesale to 175 Texas chefs; and 200+ events. To us, relationships are everything – with our team, our makers, our partners, and our customers.
The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.
How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?
Our mentors have provided us with timely advice (often just before it was needed). Our regular advisory board meetings (three Score mentors) focus on key function areas including finance, accounting, operations, marketing, and strategy. Last year, we were encouraged by our mentors to conduct a formal strategic planning session which now forms the basis of our five year vision. In 2017, we reviewed and updated our marketing plan, as well as added controls around our cash handling and accounting procedures. Their questions directed towards our leadership team allow us to come to conclusions that we know but haven’t expressed. This leadership approach resulting in deeper team buy-in and a stronger commitment to agreed upon outcomes.
Please describe the specific ways that your business has been successful and how it will grow in the next year.
In 2017, encouraged by our Score mentors to attend a Score training, we decided to prioritize the development of a 5 year vision. With direction from our mentors, the directors of our business spent 8 hours and drafted what is our current 5 year vision. The goals were clear, concise, achievable, and most importantly agreed upon by all participants. We are now proactively lead by the important work of our vision and the action plans that were built to meet that vision rather than being led by reactionary thinking and less important work. The dividends from this guidance alone are tremendous for the future growth in the next year as we look to open our third retail location (just having opened our second in January).