The Cheese Outlet and Fresh Market has been a positive fixture in the Burlington, Vermont business community since 1977. We’re located at 400 Pine Street in the Southern part of Burlington. Fresh Market has served its patrons with not only high quality fresh and gourmet foods and wine but has been successful in the addition of a key component necessary for its’ success and longevity and that is offering complete and honest customer service and the perpetuation of repeat business.
Deborah Jones and Robert Lichorwic have for a long time wanted to move back to their roots in a northern climate and become involved in what they truly know and love, the independence of owning their own business, working with healthy and delicious quality foods, food products and wines. They envision a positively charged atmosphere, where one on one interaction with pleasing knowledgeable customers who appreciate fresh gourmet market foods is the norm not the exception. All this will be wrapped in a daily environment of motivated, happy and empowered employees who share our enthusiasm in the products they sell.
Their proven success with their own wholesale/distribution business and as independent contractors in other business venues has provided them the needed catalyst to move from South Florida to Burlington, Vermont. Robert has been involved throughout his entire life in the management of personnel and fine quality foods more recently in the elegant settings of some of Palm Beach Counties most exclusive Country Clubs during the 1990’s. He has had a passion for the finer food and wines throughout most of his adult life having the good fortune of being professionally trained by one of Boca Raton’s premier chefs in the early 1990’s, Cyril Wendling. Robert’s extensive food background dates back to late 1970’s when he first started in his father’s “manor like” restaurant in upstate New York.
Both he and partner, Deborah Jones, share very distinctive thoughts of the "world food market" as a whole. The use of the words like gourmet and organic in some circles seem to equate to expensive rather than to healthy, homegrown and fresh. They both have long felt that the food and beverage “fresh market concept” will ebb and flow much more evenly than traditional grocery trends. Even though Madison Avenue advertisings’ big buck ads can make any product sound like it is something that it is not, today’s food buyers are becoming much more sophisticated than in the past and are demanding higher quality and more health beneficial products regardless of the price.
They acquired the Cheese Outlet & Fresh Market in August of 2007 and moved to the Burlington area as soon as possible. Their objective is to enhance an already viable and historic food market and continue its’ growth well into the next decades. Their mission will be to promote, enhance and expand an already strong cheese, grocery and wine customer base. This is being accomplished by adding additional products and services, expanding and promoting the prepared foods-to-go segment and upgrading the website, www.FreshMarketvt.com that will provide more healthy, organic and heat-and-go products along with a newly inspired gift baskets for special occasions, holidays or no occasion at all. Picnic baskets, "green" bag lunches, weekly wine and food tastings, celebrity book signings and daily home grown specials are also available.
Fresh Market History
Over a Century of Service and a History of Quality.
The Fresh Market Cheese Outlet of Burlington evolved from a small, local operation known as New England Dairy Foods. Richard Callahan, owner of New England Dairy Foods, worked alongside a team of twelve individuals to create quiche based products that were sold to restaurants, food service companies and in their retail space referred to as The Cheese Outlet.
The Fresh Market has expanded since the days of Richard Callahan and New England Dairy Foods, yet still remains in its original spot at the corner of Pine and Howard Street in Burlington. The building itself was built in 1902 and has undergone many changes since the original construction. The building once housed a broom factory owned by the Whiting Company, famous for creating the market’s first straight broom. Due to the success of the product and a changing of company hands, the Whiting Company was forced to move production to a larger space across Howard Street in the 1960’s, leaving the previous factory space and a few surrounding buildings at 400 Pine Street unoccupied.
In the 1970s, the then owner of the old factory building, Ray Unsworth, decided to offer portions of the empty factory space to start up companies and artisans that needed a cheap place to work freely. The building became known as The Howard Space Center and was the first community business center of its kind to be developed with private money in Burlington.
The Center quickly became a hot spot for artists, craftsmen and even community members looking for recreational space and even storage. New England Dairy Foods Cheese Outlet was one of the first tenants to work and grow in the Howard Space. In 1989, Ray Unsworth sold the Howard Space Center to his two children, Karen and Steve who own it to this day.
After being bought out in the 80’s, New England Dairy Foods was sold; however, the new owner Victorian Buffen retained the Cheese Outlet name. In the late 80s, Cheese Outlet began to expand into other portions of the Howard Space and began adding wine and specialty items in addition to the cheese.
In the 1990’s Cheese Outlet added a deli department, a small seating area and even changed its name to Fresh Market Cheese Outlet as a way to advertise the recently expanded gourmet foods and fine wine product line. The store was no longer an Outlet and now offered the finest in specialty foods and beverages from around the world. In no time the store was the leader in New England in the localvore and sustainable foods movement which it still practices today. Buying local from local food farmers and other merchandise venders came naturally to the Fresh Market store even before the words were coined in the early 90’s. It was the easiest and most logical way to transition the dining habits of many Northern Vermonters from the heights of the fast food craze back to the logical “roots” of eating wisely and healthy and that was to eat local. The market was already doing it’s part soon to be followed by others simply because they opened their back doors widely for all the local farmers to drop off their goods. The store even then had the culinary skill to transform these goods and educate its customers the wonderful world of fresh and wholesome foods prepared simply and deliciously.
About the Current Owners
Currently two owners with food & hospitality lineage Robert Lichorowic and Deborah Jones carry on the history of the 108-year-old market. Robert is the 3rd in a six generations family of restaurateurs and Hospitality professionals.
Trained by some of he regions best gastronomic minds in upstate New York in the 60’s and 70’s where Robert ran a 1500 seat restaurant and banquet facility. He continued to work directly in hospitality over his lifetime. He groomed his pedigree food distribution he also co-owns with Deborah Jones, HoneyTree Foods, a manufacturer of a premium organic line of honey products.
The pair continues to make every effort towards improving upon Cheese Outlet traditions that began here long ago.