Today we’d like to introduce you to Robin Schick.
Robin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Ten years ago my sister, Cathy and I wanted to start a business together. We brainstormed and searched, exploring everthing from a donut shop to raising organic produce in Asheville! A phone conversation one night and a joke about milking her pet dairy goats sparked a serious look at raising dairy goats and making cheese on her 13-acre farm in west Georgia.
We loved the idea and started researching. First step was to have the UGA Agribusiness Center perform a feasibility study about the viability of a Grade A Goat dairy in Georgia. The indication suggested it could be successful. The second step was to intern at goat farms in NC and Al. We quickly realized that raising goats and making cheese might require additional help. We decided to focus on making cheese and partner with someone already in the goat dairy business. After building a small Grade A milk and cheese plant in Roopville, GA, we began our career as cheese makers.
Since then, through many twists and turns on the journey, CalyRoad moved to Sandy Springs, my sister went back to her more lucrative career and I kept going in our new location. Over the years, my team and I have built a customer base that started in the local farmers markets and slowly into the best restaurants in Atlanta. We expanded in 2016 from a small 900-square foot cheese make room to over 3000-square feet of production with beautiful aging rooms, retail space and a wine tasting room. You will find local provisions, unique gifts, occasional hand made crafts and of course, cheese at the creamery in Sandy Springs.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it has not been a smooth road; those twists and turns have been pretty tough. The biggest challenge was the dissolution of the partnership with my sister. If you recall, 2009-2010 was a pretty tough time, economically. When her husband lost his job, because of cutbacks in his industry, she needed to return to her already established business. I didn’t want to quit so I continued, although the loss of her day to day abilities and skills as a business woman were very much felt. This was the biggest struggle.
All the rest has been challenges in dealing with cash flow, hiring team members with the same commitment to quality and sanitation and just learning the food industry. Even cheese makes don’t always come out right although, the same recipe has been used over and over with success. I’ve thrown away 150 pounds of mozzarella curd because it didn’t turn out quite right… that’ll bring a tear to a cheese maker’s eyes!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about CalyRoad Creamery – what should we know?
CalyRoad Creamery is an artisan cheese making company. We are the only cheese maker in metro Atlanta. What sets us apart from others is who we are, how we relate to our customers and our support of other Georgia makers. Our team is committed to clean, good quality food, personal service to all of our customers and promotion of products made in Georgia, especially ones that pair with cheeses.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The credit of our success goes to our long time customers from the farmers markets. With their support we have enjoyed an organically grown good reputation for great cheeses all spread by word of mouth. We would not be where we are now.
The Sandy Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visit Sandy Springs, Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market and so many of our Sandy Springs neighbors have been huge supporters. Their interest in our success has been amazing. Working with the City of Sandy Springs has been easy. It’s a great place to start a business.
Of course, my team deserves huge credits and are my bigggest assets. They make the cheese and they sell the cheese. That might be a simple sentence but there is so much more that can be said about it, so much more that is required to bring this product to market, more than anyone realizes. Tanja Zeissner, Marketing and Sales Director, she makes us aspire to her level of service. David Rospond, our Head Cheese Maker, who is a “natural” at making cheese. Jane Shirra, Assistant Cheese Maker, who keeps the orders moving out the door every day. Jay Burch, Assistant Cheese Maker and resident chef, who crafts new and delicious recipes for our tastings & soon to be offered prepared foods.
- Artisan Cheeses retail pricing from $6 – $12
- Catered & To Go Cheese and Charcuterie Boards for Picnics/Events $45-$300.00
- Wine and Cheese Tastings at CalyRoad Tasting Room $10
- Private & Corporate Events at CalyRoad Creamery $35-$50 per person
- Cheese Making Classes $65 per person
- Address: 225 Hilderbrand Dr. NE
- Website: https://www.calyroadcreamery.com
- Phone: 6787730843
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cutthecurd/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/calyroad_cheese?lang=en
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/calyroad-creamery-sandy-springs-3?hrid=CNVn1DERJ-uxiFTGSWSrsQ
Kevin Garrett Photography