Cheese Boutique saved!

From left to right: Cheese Boutique owners Rachid (“Rick”) and Nada Malouf. Dalere's Beauty Salon owners Glory and Marian Dalere and their cousin Ed Diao, who will be the contractor for the project. Photo by Michael Waldstein

by Ashley Hathaway

Final word arrived Wednesday that the Cheese Boutique, a part of Glen Park for 19 years, will not close. Instead it will move next door, to 660 Chenery, into the space currently occupied by Dalere’s Beauty Salon. The salon will move into a smaller space in back of the building. The final approval of the necessary permits went through with no hitches.

“(Cheese Boutique owner) Rick is so, so happy,” says Marian Dalere, whose mother Glory opened the salon in 40 years ago. “Work will begin as soon as I clear out of the first floor space.”

The shift came about when 666 Chenery St., the space occupied by the cheese shop since 1993, was sold late last year. The new owners are Dean and Jeanne Eriksen, who plan to open a “self-service” membership fitness gym, name to be determined, sprouting from their first Bernal Heights location, Fit Bernal Fit.

As it turns out, many of their loyal Fit Bernal Fit customers live in Glen Park, and their recipe for success is “not to compete with other businesses, but to have an emphasis on community and invest in the neighborhood,’’ they say. Both Dean and Jeanne feel it’s important to create a non-intimidating place where people feel comfortable exercising and can use the gym more frequently with flexibility throughout the day or night – a truly unique aspect of a self-service gym.  They plan to offer other services for members, which may include personal training sessions and dog walking.

There had been much sadness in the neighborhood at the thought of losing the Malouf’s shop. Then one day Rick went in to have his hair cut by Marian. As she trimmed, he told her he was afraid they’d run out of options, having found no other space in the neighborhood to rent.

“Move in here!” she told him. She says her mom didn’t think twice, but immediately agreed to rent out their current space to the family-run Cheese Boutique.

Coincidentally, the Daleres have been remodeling the back space of their building, and will use that space exclusively for their beauty salon – with a new entrance — leaving the front of the building available for the cheese shop.  They also offered the Maloufs a long-term lease, so they don’t have to worry about being uprooted again.

“I told Rick that this is what our community does; we help each other out,’’ said Marian.

“I feel really lucky,” says Rick. He told the story of his first day in the Cheese Boutique back in 1993, when Gloria Dalere was the Maloufs’ very first patron. Knocking on their window before the shop had opened, she waved a dollar bill demanding to be the first customer, exclaiming it was “good luck” because she was a neighbor.  They had nothing but a single bag of popcorn to offer, which she accepted in exchange, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Cheese Boutique saved!

  1. friscolex

    And in the meantime, I do my part by my constant cheese and foodie goodness purchases!

  2. Anonymous

    How awesome it is to see so much support between merchants. I don’t live in the area, but it’s nice to know their are selfless people out there.

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