The Cheese Board was founded on November 6, 1967 by Elizabeth and Sahag Avedesian as a privately owned business. They opened up on Vine Street in the small shop where the Juice Bar (another collective) is now located. Beginning with just a few hundre … show more
The Cheese Board was founded on November 6, 1967 by Elizabeth and Sahag Avedesian as a privately owned business. They opened up on Vine Street in the small shop where the Juice Bar (another collective) is now located. Beginning with just a few hundred dollars on cheese they grossed $95 on their first day of business. From the beginning they wanted to run a business in a totally different manner from most other businesses. They wanted to treat the customers as they themselves would want to be treated. In order to help achieve this, they soon decided they needed a different work environment —one based on all workers having equal power and working for equal wages. Based on Sahag's experience on an Israeli Kibbutz, they created The Cheese Board Collective. Elizabeth and Sahag, along with their employees, took a $.50/hr pay cut to finance buying the business. Early on, bread was produced in small batches outside the store by various people. When faced with the problem with what to do with leftover cheese scraps, the cheese onion curry bread was developed and baked in a standard kitchen oven in the store. Since then the bread baking has grown until now it produces some of the major profits for the store. The Cheese Board moved from its original location to Shattuck Avenue in 1975. The new space was larger but still quite constricted. In 1990 the fish market next door went out of business and the Cheese Board expanded to create the current store. The Cheese Board began making pizza on Tuesdays for lunch in 1985. Gradually this expanded to Wednesday lunch and Friday evening. In 1986 the Cheese Board acquired the space vacated by Pig by the Tail Charcuterie, four doors south of the main Cheese Board. This space was used to create and sell pizza three week day lunches (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and Friday Evening. On Saturdays this space was used as a bread outlet for the main Cheese Board.