The Work We Do: Michael Affatato, The Village Cheese Shop

My name is Michael Affatato. I’m the owner of The Village Cheese Shop here on beautiful Love Lane.

We’re a very large cheese retail shop but we’re also a full cafe and a wine bar as well. We have a full-time chef cooking for us, and we do the retail as well which is the largest part of our activity. We have about 200 types of cheeses on a rotating basis. About 90 percent of them are imported and about 10 percent are domestic. We also ship nationwide, and do catering and baskets. Off season, we do educational series either here at the shop or elsewhere.

I grew up as a child on Long Island, in Suffolk County, and I moved to France as a young adult and I was there for 17 years. I moved back to America four years ago.

My background formally was not in cheese, it was in wine production. But wine and cheese go very, very closely together. I bought this shop in October of 2015, so I’m currently in my third year.

My main role is sales behind the counter. It’s to make certain that people are exposed to new items coming and to get them really excited about the items as much as we are.

Everyday is wonderful. The dynamic between the clients and our staff here is fantastic.

My favorite part about being here is the interaction with the clients.

We have a lot of locals who are very loyal to us and even have become personal friends.

We socialize together. We also meet a lot of new clients coming in. This is an area with a lot secondary homes, so we’re meeting new people all the time. What’s interesting is that almost everybody who comes in is of the same ilk, meaning that they are epicureans.

They love cheese, they love food, they love to cook, they love to travel.

So we’re always meeting people are like-minded gourmets, if you will. It’s the interaction with them that gives us the daily charge, and the energy is just wonderful. It never gets tiring.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. Read it first and see more photos every Monday on Instagram @thesuffolktimes and watch the video on