HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The award-winning goat cheese produced in rural Limestone County made it's debut in downtown Huntsville Saturday.
Belle Chevre, a goat cheese creamery in Elkmont, will opened a second cheese shop and tasting room at the Clinton Row Project, at 100 Jefferson Street. The small retail space across the street from Kaffeeklatsch is Belle Chevre's first location in Huntsville.
"We're super excited," says Downtown Huntsville, Inc. CEO Chad Emerson. "Owner Tasia Malakasis has been all over the news, all over magazines, and so her first shop outside Elkmont is going to be right here at the Clinton Row Project in downtown Huntsville."
Emerson says a lot of what his organization is trying to do downtown is about creating authenticity. He says Belle Chevre is a fitting match amid other downtown artisan projects.
"Right across the street, Kaffeeklatsch roasts their own beans in a very hands-on, artisan way and so she fits perfectly into this," Emerson says.
Tasia Malakasis, owner of Belle Chevre, currently operates an 8,000-square-foot creamery, as well as a small cheese shop and tasting room in downtown Elkmont too.
"Belle Chevre is so excited about being a part of such an innovation of space in downtown Huntsville," Malakasis says. "We strive to innovate everyday with our products so the creativity inherent in this project is right up our alley."
The nine available Clinton Row units have already been filled and there is a wait list of around 50 tenants vying for the next open spot.
Emerson says he hopes the expansion will be just one career milestone for Belle Chevre owner, Malakasis.
"A great brand, a healthy living brand, locally grown - she's literally from Huntsville - and so it's a local entrepreneur who's growing their business and we're glad to be the second shop in which hopefully will be a long and successful career."
Emerson says since the official launch of Downtown Huntsville Inc.'s social media platforms in late October 2013, they have already seen tremendous online growth.
"We've had nearly 5,000 'likes' for example on Facebook in less than four months, so what we've found is that people want to talk a lot of times directly to the artisan or the business owners."
Emerson says a Facebook page or company website is becoming the entrepreneur's way to get started on the web. He says Downtown Huntsville Inc.'s social media platforms will be the place to monitor for anything and everything downtown.
"What we have found is that if you want to find out what's going on with the latest event - we don't try to be a clearinghouse, but we do try to emphasize some of the unique things going on in downtown Huntsville," Emerson explains.
Last year, Belle Chevre was named one of the 50 Best Independent American Food Brands and was featured in The New York Times.