In late June, artisanal cheese brand Cheeze & Thank you will launch at nine locations of Whole Foods Markets in Chicago, IL. The cheeses will be available at Edgewater, Gold Coast, Hyde Park, South Loop, Halsted, Streeterville, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and West Loop locations in flavors such as Dill Havarti, Herbed Feta, Black Garlic Truffle Fontina, Mustard Seed Smoked Gouda, Giardinera Jack, and Mozzarella Capri. Cheeze & Thank you offers cheese options that are soy-based, nut-based, and seed-based. 

The woman-run brand was created by Megan Schmitt when she began transitioning from vegetarian to vegan. At the time, she wasn’t satisfied with the vegan cheese options on the market, so she began making her own. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and initially I thought about starting a vegan restaurant when I lived in St. Louis, MO” Schmitt told VegNews. “It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago that Cheeze & Thank You really started. I didn’t have many friends here so to occupy my time, I started getting back into cheese-making.” One of Schmitt’s vegan friends told her she should start selling her cheese and put her in touch with local collective Chicago Vegan Test Kitchen. “That’s where I started actually selling my product and it all just kind of took off from there,” she said. 

With the debut of Cheeze & Thank you at Whole Foods, Schmitt plans to expand to smaller local shops in Chicago and St. Louis, MO. “I’d love Cheeze and Thank You to be available at all major grocery stores as well as independently owned shops,” Schmitt said. “I just need to figure out logistics from a distribution side.”

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