When Spread Cheese Co. opened its doors inside Middletown’s Main Street Market in November 2019, owner Lindsey Eberle was filled with excitement about the future.
And then, COVID-19 hit.
“Just when our little cheese boutique was gaining fans, we had to close.” Lindsey said. “As a new business, this was terrifying … how could we possibly survive this?”
The team at Spread quickly pivoted and developed a curbside program and online cheese shop, but it wasn’t enough. As the months passed, their small team was stretched thin as some employees didn’t feel safe venturing to work and others went in and out of quarantine for two weeks at time. Spread decided to hire a new cheesemonger, a woman they said has given 150% to help ensure Spread would survive.
When Lily Orr joined the team, she brought with her a lifetime of dairy experience, further teaching the Spread team about dairy farming and cheesemaking. Lily, who grew up on a dairy farm, had a passion for cheese. She made cheese at home, brought in samples to try, and continually furthered her education on the cheese industry during her off hours.
As the holidays approached, just as the Spread team looked forward to orders picking up, a key employee became sick with COVID-19. Without batting an eye, Lily increased her hours, coming in early, leaving late, managing curbside orders, and prepping to-go kits for brewery partners — all while providing top-notch service to customers in the shop. Lily also demonstrated immense creativity to help Spread increase revenue. She conducted virtual cheese tastings, assembled pairing kits for Wesleyan University, and created a Christmas Cookie + Cheese Pairing Platter, which became a top selling item of 2020. Lily was recently promoted to Shop Manager and is already working on building a new Cheese of the Month Club.
“Lily has strengthened our brand and our business during the most trying of times,” Lindsey said. “We would not be where we are today without her.”
Thank you, Lily for being an essential part of keeping a new small business afloat in the face of COVID-19.
As part of Liberty Bank’s 1000 Thanks program, Lily received $1,000. Liberty Bank’s 1000 Thanks program is aimed at recognizing employees of Liberty Bank business customers for going above and beyond in the face of COVID-19. Lily was nominated by her boss as an exceptional employee whose efforts made a tremendous impact on the future of the business.
For more stories, visit liberty-bank.com/ThousandThanks or follow Liberty Bank on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as we recognize local people for the tremendous impact they have every day in our communities.