of Laraia’s Cheese Shop announced Monday she is closing one of Rockland’s few freestanding
cheese specialty shops and holding a going out of business sale.
Dorothy Clark bought Laraia’s three years ago from original owner Larry Laraia, who was retiring.
Clark said with the business slowing over the past year she had been considering shutting the store, which has five part-time employees.
“I’ve been thinking about it since the spring,” Clark said adding she had been hoping to keep it open through the holidays.
A message on Laraia’s Facebook page explained the decision.
the current economic climate and the fact that supermarkets and big box stores
are now carrying artisanal cheeses along with other gourmet items, we are
unable to compete with them and sustain a viable business.”
Maria of New City, who was buying cheese with her granddaughter Makayla today, said she has been a long time customer and was sad to see it close.
“I’m a little sad especially on the holidays I get stuff,” she said.
Laraia’s at 5 Seeger Drive in Nanuet has been a fixture in the community for more than 30 years and known for giving customers samples of its selection of between 150 and 200 cheeses. Laraia opened the retail shop in in 1979 as an expansion of his cheese wholesale business. Laraia’s son now operates the wholesale side of the business, which is based in New Windsor and supplies supermarkets.
Clark said everything in the shop is 40 percent off except for the fresh, handmade mozzarella, which will continue to be made daily until it closes. Laraia’s selection of cheeses comes from local artisanal cheese makers and imported from around the world.
The shop also stocks olives, pastas, frozen Italian meals, spreads, olive oils, candies and jams. Laraia’s will no longer accept phone orders or platter orders. Its hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Clark said she had known Laraia for a long time and when she found out he was retiring she decided to buy the business.
“I always wanted a food business but I didn’t want a restaurant,” she said.
Clark is not sure what her future plans are.
The Facebook post goes on to say, “We would like to thank you for your patronage over the years and for being part of the Laraia's Cheese Shop Family. Sincerely, Dorothy, Tricia, Joe, Larry, Diane & Bob.”