The Shopkeeper Chronicles: Bloomy Cheese and Provisions

The Shopkeeper Chronicles: Bloomy Cheese and Provisions

Dec 18, 2023

Bloomy Cheese and Provisions is a culinary haven that captivates the senses with its delightful array of artisanal cheeses and gourmet provisions. Nestled in the heart of charming Dobbs Ferry in NY’s lower Hudson Valley, this boutique establishment brings something truly unique to the community. We chatted with founder and owner, Jessica Galen, to talk cheese, entrepreneurship, and activism.

Where did you come up with the idea for Bloomy Cheese and Provisions?

Having a cheese shop is something that I dreamed about for about a decade. I had worked in cheese shops, on farms and dairies, and in cheese caves, but until I was firmly rooted in Dobbs Ferry and realized opening a shop was connected to the rest of my work in this community, I couldn’t quite visualize how my own shop would take shape. The inspiration for Bloomy came at a moment when I realized that having a business in town was part of the same work and the same mission as other work I was involved in, such as downtown improvement and community building.

Can you say more about this “moment”?

The pandemic upended a lot of what I thought I knew about what my career would look like. I'd been working in a nonprofit for about four years and had become increasingly involved in Dobbs Ferry. I saw how devastated main streets had become by the pandemic following decades of e-commerce and consolidation. I realized that I needed to be a part of supporting a vibrant downtown in Dobbs Ferry with a business of my own.

How do you engage the community around the shop?

Creating a new space that people want to spend time in was essential as I was imagining Bloomy, and that means having a flexible space that can be many things to many people even though it’s so tiny. It also means not keeping my work to the four walls of my own shop or my own business. I bring in lots of collaborators for events and pop ups, and also bring my classes and cheese cocktail parties to other businesses. I’ve created the freedom and flexibility to say yes to things like Candlelit Barre and Cheese at a local barre studio and a kimchi and cheese pairing in my space. These collaborations are energizing for me as a business owner, and the community has responded with support and excitement.

How does your role as a business owner, an elected official, and an activist intersect?

I am a Trustee in the Village of Dobbs Ferry. That is the elected policymaking body that oversees the operations of the Village. I was elected just two weeks before the store opened and was sworn in a month later, so my journey with Bloomy and as a Trustee are very much intertwined. 

I really value the opportunity to serve as a Trustee who owns a business in our downtown. I feel I bring an important perspective to the Board,—particularly in a small community like this. Residents are passionate about potential changes and pay close attention to shifts in the downtown, and it’s nice to be so immersed in that discourse day in and day out.

As for activism, I speak about issues that are important to me through the business. Bloomy’s tagline is “Lactose & Tolerance,” and I try to live that every day by standing up for what I believe in while using food and the spaces I create as a tool to build a better world, whether it’s speaking on the record about supporting increased minimum wages in NY or hosting fundraisers for a local abortion rights group I’m a part of. 

Why cheese?

Cheese is utterly captivating. Each piece is teeming with life, history, agriculture, the interplay of people and animals and traditions and microbes and landscapes and politics and ecology and culture. It’s impossible to know everything about cheese! Cheese punches way above its weight as a cultural touchstone. It brings people together and can be incredibly comforting delicious, and indulgent while also getting at something fundamental about our relationship with food and the world around us.

I wanted to provide that sense of awe for my community, and I feel so fortunate to have that space in the form of Bloomy.