In this new era of food sustainability and wellness, a local couple has decided to turn the movement into profit with their brand-new business.
After working successfully for years in the information technology (IT) and pharmaceutical industries, husband-and-wife team Caroline and Chris Dircks decided to leave that life behind once they began to notice a change in the dietary needs of the people around them.
“My husband is a vegetarian and my children and friends are either gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian.” said Caroline.
With their family and friends in mind, the Dircks plan on opening up Olive & Henry, a fine-foods grocer, in the lower level of the Watch Factory Shoppes, next door to Ana Parzych Cakes. Olive & Henry aims to fulfill the niche market of specialty foods — including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free — options which have been lacking in Cheshire, the couple believes.
The Dircks’ idea for Olive & Henry is twofold, they explain.
“Our mission is to not only be residents’ one-stop shop for fine cheeses and meats, but (to also) provide answers, guidance, and help in putting together the perfect dinner party, cocktail party, or just a nice night of entertaining,” said Chris.
On Olive & Henry’s Instagram page, which the Dircks manage themselves, the couple has already begun posting some examples of different charcuterie boards that will be available upon request for a variety of different parties or dining experiences.
“We don’t want to use the word ‘catering’ because that’s not the idea,” explained Caroline. “But we want to help people create the ultimate dining experience and we want to be of service in any way we can.”
Besides different charcuterie boards, both vegan and non, Olive & Henry will sell a variety of artisanal jams, jellies, breads, meats and cheeses, along with ready-to-eat meals and specialty beverages like coffee and teas.
Their location, the Watch Factory Shoppes, has been in serious need of economic growth in recent years, according to Caroline, and now, with new businesses opening up such as Olive & Henry, along with K.I.S.S Cafe that will be located upstairs from their store, the once-relatively abandoned space will, she hopes, return to its prosperous beginnings.
“It’s a really great, under-appreciated area,” said Caroline. “We hope to generate business, and hopefully add to the great businesses that are already here. So many people have come up to us and told us how excited they are to see more being done in this area, (so) we’re excited to add to that.”
Olive & Henry plans on offering “fun and instructional” events in a relaxed environment for all ages, partnering with culinary spots around town to help build Cheshire’s food scene. The Dircks are excited to sell locally-made goods at Olive & Henry, therefore showcasing a lot of what Cheshire has to offer
“We really want to highlight all the local talent that Cheshire and the surrounding towns have to offer,” mentioned Chris. “There are so many amazing local farms that we can use for cheeses and meats, and even local bakers. The options are endless.”
With a large-scale renovation of the space taking place over the holidays, the Dircks have their sights set on a March 2020 grand opening, although they are eager to open and start sharing their products with the town.
“At its foundation, Olive & Henry is a love story: a love for life, food, and sharing a good meal. We are looking forward to sharing our love for these things with all of our neighbors here in Cheshire”