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Fernie cheese lovers know there’s only one place to go to satisfy their cravings; it’s Le Grand Fromage. Open in downtown Fernie for almost two years, the store carries around 100 varieties of cheese on any given day.
“We sell cheese and cheese accessories, basically all things cheese,” said store owner Pierre Dupont. “Initially I planned to focus mostly on Canadian cheeses, but customer demand being what it is I have about half Canadian, half European cheeses. I have a basic set of cheese that I carry all the time and I rotate in other stuff. “
Le Grande Fromage also carries a wide variety of products that complement cheese, including raclette and fondue machines, knives, condiments, and crackers.
A former software engineer, Dupont originally came to Fernie for the skiing. As a cheese lover himself, he decided it was time to bring an outlet to Fernie that he felt was lacking.
“I like cheese and it’s very difficult to get good cheese outside of major cities, like Vancouver or Calgary. There are some specialty cheese shops but around these parts, but if you want a good Canadian cheese, something from Quebec, you’re hard pressed to find anything,” Dupont commented. “We have a lot of good cheese in B.C. now too that you can’t find in most grocery stores. I just thought it would be something that I would like to do and something that hopefully other people enjoy, just to give people a little bit more variety.”
Coming up on its two year anniversary, Dupont said Le Grand Fromage has grown in a short amount of time and allowed him to carry a wider variety of cheeses. “I had trouble filling the space when I first opened. I basically just had my cooler with some cheese in it, and so as time goes on I get more and more products in.”
While the City of Fernie has a population of tourists and out-of-towners during almost every season, Dupont recognises the importance of local business. “Certainly I have a lot of regular customers, and that’s important to any business, you can’t rely on tourists. Knowing local people and being able to talk about cheeses with them and suggest new items, it helps.”
He added, “It’s good to have a local community that you can offer services to.”
With cheese imported from France, Germany, and Spain, and varieties made from cow, goat, and sheep milk, it’s safe to say Le Grande Fromage carries a cheese for everyone.