Folks in Saxonburg were a little confused when Curds & Molds Fromagerie first opened in October, 2015. What was that new shop on West Main Street with the strange foreign name? They soon discovered it was a gourmet cheese shop (“Fromagerie” means cheese shop in French) in the same building where the 150-year-old Maurhoff Grocery store once resided, now home to the dream of owner, Jim Knapick. A lover of cheese, Jim started ordering cheeses from all over the world to enjoy in the comfort of his own home. Jim’s passion for cheese caught the attention of his friends who wanted some too, and eventually turned into a 70-member cheese club where enthusiasts could sample new cheeses and learn about them together. When the Maurhoff building became available in 2015, members encouraged Jim to open a cheese shop so others could enjoy the many varieties of cheeses they had discovered.
Jim finally took the leap of faith and opened Curds & Molds Fromagerie on October 2, 2015 with a limited inventory of 30 cheeses and his 28-year-old daughter, Elyse, running the cash register. Working a full-time job as an engineer, it was important for Jim to find the right person to run his new business. Enter a fellow barbershop singer and friend of Jim’s, Ron Brooks, who put his singing telegram business, Brooks Entertainment, on hold and chose to make a bold move of his own to become the manager and singing cheesemonger of Curds & Molds Fromagerie. Ron’s retail and marketing experience – plus his easy charm and out-going personality – turned out to be a great fit for this business and the town of Saxonburg.
Ron quickly transformed Jim’s cheese shop into a quaint and cozy store and filled it with vintage music playing from the antique radio atop the original display case from Maurhoff Grocery. Here, customers are encouraged to try free samples of cheese with each other and compare tastes, similar to a wine tasting. Customers can keep track of their favorites by using a Cheese Checklist provided by the store. It’s an experience that brings people together and coming back for more. The store quickly grew and now carries more than 85 varieties of cheese from all over the world and domestic award-winners. Complementary products (some quite exotic) now fill the shelves: Charcuteries (cured meats), crackers, oils, vinegars, honey, mustards, nuts, pickles, olives, gourmet salts, par-baked breads and naturally flavored seltzers. Also for sale are homemade pierogies from the award-winning Cop Out Pierogies in Etna. These feature the shop’s own gourmet cheeses. There’s a lovely area in the rear of the shop that features an antique mantle topped by pictures of the historic Maurhoff Grocery and surrounded by charming parlor tables where shoppers can stay and eat. You’re welcome to bring your own favorite beverage, or even your own food. In fact, many often gather in the shop to enjoy food from not only Curds & Molds Fromagerie, but from the other shops on Main Street in Saxonburg. It’s a warm, comfortable atmosphere and Ron is happiest when the place is bustling with happy customers.
Curds & Molds Fromagerie is always evolving and changing for the holidays. In December the store windows displayed an old fashioned Christmas with a full-size live Christmas tree encircled by an electric train and vintage toys. Ron, who plays Santa professionally, made a special appearance as the big guy and offered parents free pictures of their kids with Santa.
The store is available for private events such as jewelry/nail parties or girls’ night outs. They recently hosted a very successful wine, cheese and paint night and have another scheduled this summer. They also participate in Saxonburg’s progressive dinners and Mingle on Main events held in the spring and summer.
The Curds & Molds crew – Jim (the Cheese Czar), Ron (the Singing Cheesemonger) and Elyse at the register – invite you to “Skip the trip to the strip” and enjoy their fun and fabulous cheese shop and all of the wonderful shops in Saxonburg. There are always FREE samples, plenty of FREE parking, handicap accessibility from our parking lot behind the shop, and always a friendly smile – and maybe even a song waiting for you. We hope to see you soon!
Curds & Molds Fromagerie 259 W. Main Street Saxonburg, PA 16056
Visit us on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/CurdsnMolds/
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10am-5pm
We love our customers, so feel free to visit during normal business hours.
470 West Main Street, Saxonburg, PA 16056, us
Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm