Cheese Louise suspends operations, looks for new location

Its sister business, Tamara's Gifts & Teas, closes.

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WALLA WALLA -- Wellington Avenue: Home to the Cheese Monger, no longer.

Cheese Louise is suspending its operations, and its sister business Tamara's Gifts & Teas will close its doors for good, owners say.

Spread thin by their multitude of responsibilities, owners Bill and Tamara Krieger have had to scale back their undertakings, Tamara Krieger explained. She said they chose what right now is least profitable of their many operations. Thursday was the last day for the two stores in the cottage at 321 Wellington Ave.

Krieger, who realized a longtime dream of owning her own tea shop when she opened Tamara's Gifts & Teas nearly six years ago, said the tight economy is likely to blame for a downturn in that side of the business. The cheese shop, opened about a year after the gift shop, remains a draw but is difficult for many people -- particularly visitors drawn by the wine industry -- to find.

Cheese Louise may find a new home in a downtown location in the future, she added. No time limit has been set on when, or if, a new location would open.

"We're keeping our phone number, just in case," Krieger said. "I don't want to reinvent the wheel if it does happen."

She said local customers can still call for cheese deliveries since the operation is continuing in the Tri-Cities and owners will have access to the product. For cheese deliveries, call 200-1166.

Though the cheese shop's expansion to the Richland area has been wildly successful, a new career move for Bill Krieger, the store's founder and "Cheese Monger," forced the couple to rethink their operations. Bill Krieger recently accepted a position as director of arts and sciences for Montana State University-Great Falls. He's been commuting between Walla Walla and Great Falls.

Meanwhile, Tamara Krieger, founder of Tamara's Gifts & Teas, is also juggling her personal chef business, Intimate Dinners, and a position cooking daily for a fraternity at Whitman College.

The Richland location for Cheese Louise is operated by family members, she said. That store, opened at the end of October in a market with virtually nothing else like the shop. Krieger said the reception has been outstanding. At the same time, however, business at the Walla Walla stores has declined.

Krieger said the Wellington Avenue location, far from Walla Walla's downtown hub, has been quaint but is limited for the vision the couple has for the operations.

At the Richland store they've been able to offer musical performances in a laid-back atmosphere where customers can enjoy cheese and wine pairings. Ideally a similar place could be set up in downtown Walla Walla, she said.

"We have a great following," she said. "We absolutely love our people. But just like everyone else in the wine industry, we had to figure out where to cut costs."

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.


For cheese deliveries from Cheese Louise, call 200-1166.

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