Each month we like to spotlight our merchants who have found success by running the businesses that they love. Read on to find out how one couple turned a (literally) cheesy dream into a successful reality.
Time for Something Different
In 2010, John and Kendall Antonelli were on their honeymoon and already making big plans for their future together. John, who had been working at an accounting firm, knew he wanted to do something different.
“I realized that I had the perfect wife, perfect house, perfect wedding and perfect dogs, but my job was not the right fit for me,” he says. “I took the opportunity to tell this to Kendall...and her response was simply, ‘Ok, what do you want to do?’ My answer was short and sweet: ‘something in cheese.’”
I spent two years searching for my passion, for a career that would inspire me every day to be better.
From that point on, the couple worked to make the dream a reality. “I spent two years searching for my passion, for a career that would inspire me every day to be better,” John says. “I found that and have been fortunate enough to share this adventure with Kendall going on almost eight years.”
Expanding Their Reach
“Once we decided we were going to open our own cheese shop, it was a daunting process,” Kendall says. But Antonelli’s — which started as a brick and mortar store — has expanded greatly. They now have a “cheese house” that hosts classes and tastings, along with a “thriving” ecommerce site where they sell and ship "Cheese of the Month" clubs nationwide.
Though Antonelli’s growth was fast and sometimes stressful, a passion for business is what has kept John and Kendall going.
“When you open a small business there are times when you’re going to get very overwhelmed,” John says. “It’s passion that keeps you focused on the long term.”
One of our biggest successes is that we love what we do every day.
Kendall agrees. “One of our biggest successes is that we love what we do every day,” she says. “We live lives full of passion. If you don’t get up knowing what you do every day and loving what you do every day...then it’s not worth doing.”
A Slice of Advice
John has some words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs looking to make their stores successful. “Find the opportunities that give you the best return for your investment,” he says. “Partnering with a company like Volusion allowed us to achieve two goals: gain market share in Texas and relieve some of the major pain points in our business. If you can ease the pressure on your team by implementing a new store online you will gain valuable buy-in that allows the transition to move quickly and smoothly.”
Partnering with a company like Volusion allowed us to achieve two goals: gain market share in Texas and relieve some of the major pain points in our business.
As for Antonelli’s Cheese, the plan is to keep growing and make the world a cheesier place. “[We] are looking at expansion opportunities in the Central Texas region for our physical stores as well as growing our online presence through Volusion,” John says. “Our team is living out our mission, which is ‘Do Good. Eat Good.’ and our vision will spread this to our community and beyond.”