Where's The Cheese?
Six years ago I fell in love with a marine who happened to be a goat farmer. His family raised Boer/Kiko cross meat goats. Five years ago I married my marine and immediately started hounding him for a dairy goat. I really wanted a dairy goat so we could become as self sufficient as possible.....milk, cheese, butter. Goat milk cheese was my biggest goal.
Three years ago we purchased Miss Sally (registered name Kiss My Grits), a full bloodied registred American Saanen. At that time I was working full time at UT Medical Center as RN and getting up at 4am every morning to milk Miss Sally. Not Fun! She was producing a gallon of milk a day so I knew I needed to find an outlet for her milk. After much research, trial and error, I came up with the lotion formula that I have now. My fellow nurse friends being the shy soft spoken wall flowers that they are........ no wait a minute they blatantly told me my first 3 or 4 attempts were crap! After coming up with this current formula, they started purchasing the lotion from me. I signed up for my first craft show at Nawger Nob in Townsend. We made $800. I continued doing craft shows and making more money. A year later I stepped away from my nursing profession, that I loved so much, to focus on my home based lotion business. We have traveled to Missouri, Georgia and Florida to participate in craft shows. Every craft show at least one person asks me if I make cheese.  My response with a smile is always "one day soon".
June 2017 I decided I wanted to open a store in Foothills Mall in Maryville. I wanted an indoor craft show but in brick and mortar form. I pitched the idea to the mall manager and she loved it! I initially brought in about 25 crafters. All but 2 of the crafters were from East Tennessee. October 1st 2017 we opened the doors to Gentry Mercantile in a space less than 800 sq ft. My stepdaughter actually had to work for me opening day because we were at a craft show in Nashville that had been booked for 8 months! We had a phenomenal holiday season. The merchandise in the store was very well received. Everything in the store is handmade. We not only decided to stay open after Christmas but moved to a larger 1600 sq ft space in mid January.
We now have 6 dairy goats. It has been a fantastic, fun, busy, fast paced 3 years. Three years.......just for me to put that in writing seems unreal. I still have not made any cheese. Maybe within the next 3 years, I can accomplish that.



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