Kent Walker Artisan Cheese Rebounds After Disaster

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Mar. 17, 2014 12:00 am  

A sampling of what's offered at Kent Walker Artisan Cheese.

With a $25,000 insurance check, hard work and the support of his customers — he didn’t lose a single account — he has “pretty much recovered” and is able to see a year down the road, three years, even five years.

Demand remains robust for his product, of which he makes 280 to 300 pounds a week. He offers six cheeses year-round along with one-offs as the mood or the season strikes. And Walker uses as many local ingredients — milk is, of course, the big one — as possible.

Ben E. Keith Co. is the distributor of Kent Walker Artisan Cheese. Walker has about 50 restaurant accounts and about 20 retail accounts, including Whole Foods stores in Little Rock, Memphis and Jackson, Miss. His cheeses can even be found at an independent cheese shop in Tulsa.

But Walker is particularly looking forward to introducing more people in central Arkansas to his product.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the downtown space,” he said. “We’re going to have a big, awesome 1920s-style neon sign that says ‘Kent Walker Artisan Cheese.’ We’re going to have a public front, the tasting room. We’re going to be in all the ‘Visit Little Rock’ magazines and the cool maps that show the different businesses. And that’s just going to do so much for us.”

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