A Businesswoman Among Thousands of Cheeses

One might casually refer to her as a “cheese lady.” After all, Mrs. G. Kuijl-Verboom indeed deals in cheese. However, envisioning a “cheese lady” might conjure an image of a woman selling cheese here and there, perhaps at a market. And therein lies the difference: when one learns that someone has 360,000 kilograms of cheese in stock, it’s hard to continue calling her a “cheese lady.” Suddenly, we find ourselves dealing with large numbers, reminiscent of wholesale or any significant enterprise. Because it is a substantial business, and Mrs. Kuijl-Verboom is, without a doubt, an enterprising woman.

She resides in Nieuwpoort near Alblasserdam in the Alblasserwaard. If you were to open an atlas immediately, do not search for the infamous Nieuwpoort of the 1600 battle. By the way, that Nieuwpoort is not in the Alblasserwaard. Take a look along the Lek; there you will find Schoonhoven, and right opposite Schoonhoven lies a particularly small fortress town.

That is Nieuwpoort, according to experts, the smallest fortress town in the Netherlands. A series of houses on a dike, a small harbor that juts out into the Lek. It’s a quiet and peaceful place, with boats sailing past on the river.

Thriving Trade

The warehouse of Mrs. Kuijl-Verboom is much busier. There is a lot going on under the industrious hands of this woman, deserving respect for her robust approach. She runs a thriving business.

Cheese trading has faced challenges in the past. However, Mrs. Kuijl-Verboom did not give up. With boundless energy and a robust approach, she revived the cheese trade. And how! Thousands of cheeses pass through her hands annually, with the assistance of four employees, she keeps the business running smoothly.

A decisive woman, this widow Kuijl-Verboom, who knows that there is much more to the cheese trade, or rather, the cheese warehouse. These are actually two entirely different concepts. Because one can trade cheese without ever handling a piece of it. Those with a cheese warehouse know that things are very different. Mrs. Kuijl-Verboom understands this too. In her warehouse, the cheese goes out after some time, more or less “aged.” Hence, the large cheese stocks, up to 360,000 kilograms. Counting alone would take a considerable amount of time. And did you think that the cheese just lay there for a while to age gracefully? Oh no, a lot of work goes into it. When the cheeses arrive, they are soft and young. And just like a baby shouldn’t be left lying on the same side for too long to avoid deformities, the same goes for fresh young cheeses. That’s why the new cheeses, as per the industry term, need to be turned after a while; otherwise, dents and strange spots will appear. Turning happens regularly. You will have to do it, turn all those hundreds of cheeses every two weeks. And turning alone is not enough; the cheeses also need to be regularly wiped and cleaned, mold needs to be prevented, and so on. Mrs. Kuijl-Verboom knows it all. She knows exactly which cheeses are due to be turned, wiped, or sold. And that she can certainly use those four employees for her business goes without saying.

Moreover, those cheeses need to be provided with a kind of plastic jacket, you know, those protective layers always found on cheeses.

Among Cheeses

It is understandable that a whole administration comes into play. Mrs. Kuijl-Verboom from Nieuwpoort takes care of it all, even though some cheeses may lie there for a year.

So, Mrs. Kuijl-Verboom works long days, weeks, and months among all those thousands of cheeses. The business has grown, until she decided it was enough. The warehouses don’t need to be any bigger; the business is doing well.

Inquire in Nieuwpoort about that woman with her cheeses. “Oh, you mean Widow Kuijl-Verboom,” everyone will immediately say. And some will recognize a tone of respect for this robust businesswoman from Nieuwpoort.

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