Suffolk cheesemonger: ‘Accessible cheese is important’

Nic Walker has recently opened an artisanal cheese shop in Bury St Edmunds

Nic Walker has recently opened an artisanal cheese shop in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Charlotte Bond

With Christmas just around the corner, there’s no better time than now to start thinking about what cheese you’ll want to snack on over the festive period.  

We all love a cheeseboard - and one local man understands the importance of local (and reasonably-priced) cheeses, which is why he’s just set opened up an artisanal cheese shop in the centre of Bury St Edmunds.  

Nic Walker, originally from East Sussex, decided to set up shop in Suffolk, and just last month opened the doors to Walker’s Cheese. And so far, trade has been a roaring success. 

Located on St John’s Street, Nic only stocks the finest British and Irish cheeses, with many unavailable in supermarkets. But what inspired his latest venture?  

Nic Walker of Walkers Cheese

Nic Walker of Walkers Cheese - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“In 2007, I set up a dairy making artisan cheese with a friend of mine down in East Sussex. We worked together for 11 and a half years before eventually parting ways,” he explains.  

But Nic’s love of cheese remained, and shortly after a divorce just before the first lockdown, he had the idea of setting up his very own cheese shop.  

But why here in Bury St Edmunds? 

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“I’ve always loved Bury, and I eventually wanted to move here so that’s why I decided to set up here. We used to come here a lot on holiday, as my stepfather’s sister lives in Hadleigh. 

“It took a little while to get everything set up, especially when I was still living in Sussex, but luckily I’ve got a friend in Diss who I was able to stay with while I got everything sorted. And once I found the right location, I grabbed it and everything fell into place.” 

Nic had his grand opening on September 26, and has already gotten to grips with the vast array of local cheeses produced here in the region.  

“We only stock artisanal cheese from Britain and Ireland, and I try to fit in as many local cheeses as I can. At the moment we’ve got around seven or eight regional cheeses in stock,” he explains.  

Some of the local delicacies currently on offer include Baron Bigod, Suffolk Blue, Binham Blue, Norfolk Dapple, Suffolk Gold, and Norfolk White Lady. 

Nic's shop focusses on British and Irish cheese - with many unavailable in supermarkets

Nic's shop focusses on British and Irish cheese - with many unavailable in supermarkets - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“So far business has been better than I expected, I'm very happy with how things are going at the moment, and it’s increasing every week.” 

Things are going so well for Nic that he has taken the decision to reduce the price of most his stock by ten per cent in order to make artisanal British cheeses more readily available for all – despite the ongoing supply chain issues and subsequent inflation.  

“Accessible cheese is important, and I know there’s a big squeeze on, but I don’t want my customers to feel like they can’t afford to enjoy top-end and high-end cheese,” he explains.  

“Just pop in and have a look. You’re welcome to have a taste, and you don’t need to buy masses, I’m not trying to sell kilos of cheese to every person who comes in."

Walkers Cheese in Bury St Edmunds

Walkers Cheese in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Nic has big plans for his cheese empire – and with the future looking bright – he plans to eventually start stocking his goods online and selling them nationwide.  

“In the meantime, I’m working on Christmas hampers, and I’ll be doing bespoke cheeseboards that I’ll be working on with a local artist.” 

Walkers Cheese is open Tuesday to Saturday – opening hours are 10am until 5pm on weekdays, and between 9.30am and 5pm on Saturdays.  

To find out more about Walkers Cheese, visit facebook.com/walkerscheese

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