18th Annual People’s Awards

Deli Business’ annual People’s Awards recognizes the best of the best in the industry. These individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds and experience but what they have in common is notable careers and contributions to the field. The following pages detail this year’s winners’ careers, business philosophies and crowning achievements, along with insight on their personal lives.

Rachel Klebaur

Owner/Cheesemonger

Orrman’s Cheese Shop

Charlotte, NC

Q.  How has your career evolved over the years? 


A.  My career has always revolved around food and customer service; the best part about this is seeing joy on peoples’ faces as they are dining with family and friends or discovering a new cheese. I’ve worked desk jobs but when I do, I always miss the customer interaction. 

Q. What positions have you held in industry associations? 

A.  I am mostly a supporter, so I don’t hold any prestigious positions with associations but do volunteer my time to support others. I’ll volunteer at the American Cheese Society conferences or volunteer to lead tastings and events at cheese festivals and volunteer within my local food community. So, if you need a helping hand, I’m happy to help with my time and labor! 

Q.  What is your leadership philosophy? 

A.  I think my philosophy is that I’m there to guide and lead by example. I expect my staff to strive for excellence, which takes hard work and maybe with some mistakes along the way. I am working just as diligently right along with the cheesemongers. I  really like to see others succeed in their own path and will help one do so. So, if a cheesemonger comes to me with an idea or a vision they would like to fulfill, I am there to help as much as I can. 


 Q.  How do you balance your work and personal life? 

A.  As a small business owner who wears many hats and with the business constantly on my mind, it is hard to create a balance. Thankfully, I do enjoy what I do so my time at work rarely feels like work. And now that my boys are older, I can also spend time with them at the shop as they work a couple of hours each week manning the panini press. We get to spend time together; I know where they are and I know that they are learning a good work ethic to help prepare them for the future. I do try to schedule time to clear my head so I do make it a point to take a few long walks in the nature preserve in my neighborhood. 

Q.  What deli retail trends have impacted the industry most over the last year? 

A.  We are a cut-to-order cheese shop so we will always purchase wheels of cheese for our cheese counter but I do notice more and more producers offering pre-cut wedges. Because the workforce is overextended, I can see this is a huge convenience for many shops.

Q.  What have been the biggest changes in the deli industry over the course of your career? 

A.  As a cheesemonger for the past 20 years, I’ve seen huge growth in the American cheese industry. This is the reason why I’ve stayed in the business for so long. I can visit dairies, chat with the cheesemakers and hang out with the animals all in my own state. North Carolina has some amazing cheesemakers within a two hours drive from Charlotte. Over the past few years, I’ve seen a huge demand for cheese boards and cheese displays, and I think cheese has become more approachable to people. 

Q.  What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work? 

A.  I do enjoy shopping for unique things, so besides finding unique and special cheeses I am an avid thrifter and will spend my Saturdays going to thrift stores, estate sales or yard sales. Of course, I can’t keep all of those unique finds, so I guess you could say that is a hobby as well as my side hustle, researching a vintage piece and listing them for resale. 

Q.  Are you married? If so, how long? How many children? 

A.  I am married to Jose Espinosa, who I met in culinary school. We have been married for 18 years and have three sons, ages 17 & 14-year-old twins.

Cover Story

Tales from IDDBA

The Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta was buzzing with activity, as the aisles filled throughout the day and manufacturer booths had crowds sampling all that the IDDBA Show had to offer. Attendees proclaimed they were happy to be back after the two-year hiatus due to COVID, and from the looks of things, the industry has picked up where it left off in 2019. […]

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