Photo: Geo’s Cheese is now taking orders for customized Mother’s Day baskets. Photo by Tyler Schneider
Geo’s Cheese corners a niche local market
By Tyler Schneider
Spencer Woodard opened the doors to Geo’s Cheese on April 10 in the midst of an ongoing pandemic scare. This didn’t stop the roughly 200 potential customers from finding their way into the small storefront — nestled between McClain’s Bakery and Governor Stumpy’s Grill House at the intersection of Gregory Blvd and McGee St — over the course of two weeks.
“The idea had kinda been in my mind for the last several years,” Woodard said. “I’ve been in the wholesale part of [the cheese industry] for some time and so I’d always thought it’d be nice to have a storefront for consumers, because we’d dealt with a lot of cheeses you couldn’t find around Kansas City. We wanted to project an old-school, neighborhood feel.”
Woodard’s prior experience helped him assemble a wide variety of inventory to stock shelves right away, and his shop serves as an extension of his pre-existing wholesale businesses.
In addition to shelves dedicated to specific categories, like international, spicy and Wisconsin Cheddar aged as long as 15 years, customers can sift through complementary goods like meat products, jarred condiments and kitchen items including a handful of unique cutting boards crafted by local artist Dave Harlin. Other popular draws include 40 pound blocks of Wisconsin Cheddar and customized preparation for restaurants and catering services.
“[Woodard] wanted to provide things that people couldn’t get in other places, and he wanted to be local so people wouldn’t drive by here to go to the Plaza,” said retired veteran Gary Seabaugh, who has been working with Woodard since he came to see the store on opening day.
The pair is working on expanding their offerings as businesses restrictions begin to wind down over the coming months. One of these ideas is to set up a fruit stand in the front of the store, which already features several tables where customers can sit and enjoy the sun.
In the works — pending the approval of the required licensing application — are plans to offer a limited selection of wines to pair with specific cheeses.
“We’re not a liquor store, and we aren’t reaching for that market,” Seabaugh said. “What we want to do is have a selection of wine that goes specifically with our cheese.”
The list of wines will grow as organically as the customer base has. Once the license is approved, Seabaugh plans on crafting the wine selection based strictly on customer and community input.
“We have a lot of foodies, caterers and chefs that come in here. We are going to choose what wines to offer based on their recommendations. Therefore, we’ll be able to have a small, but effective inventory. It will be a great way to help build that community feel,” Seabaugh said.
It goes without saying that cheese will always be the headliner as long as doors are open. While Geo’s Cheese already has a large selection available, there are plenty of additional products that have yet to make their way through distribution services that have been delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Until those reinforcements arrive, Geo’s Cheese has more than enough cheese to satisfy all but the most demanding list of essential food items. The storefront is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Curbside orders are also available upon request.