Cheesing out: Family buys Quel Fromage

By Ryan Wynne

Fairhaven artisan cheese shop Quel Fromage, located at 1200 Old Farihaven Parkway, suite 101, has a new owner. In fact, it has five new owners.

The Bagne family purchased the business March 16 from original owner Rachel Riggs, who opened Quel Fromage in January 2007.

Leslie and Conrad Bagne will have a mostly hands-off approach to the business and leave much of the decision making to their daughters, Beth and Jennifer. But Leslie said the parents, who live in Anchorage, Alaska,  won’t be completely out of the picture. She called Bellingham a home away from home and said she and her husband frequently visit their Bellingham-based daughters and grandchildren.

Leslie said the crew is excited to take on the endeavor, mostly because she loves cheese.

“It’s just a wonderful food,” Leslie said. “There’s never a dull moment with cheese.”

Like wine, Leslie said the flavor of cheese is influenced by environmental conditions — whatever an animal eats will change the flavor of the animal’s milk and therefore the flavor of the cheese.

With Riggs’ help and guidance during these beginning stages, Leslie said the family will carry on Riggs’ mission to provide Bellingham with a one-stop shop for a large selection of artisan cheeses from around the world. And like Riggs, she said they will continue to use the cheese makers whose wedges and rounds currently adorn the shelves of Quel Fromage and will continue to seek out new artisans.

The cheese shop will fit nicely with the family’s three online businesses:, and The third daughter, Kirstin Hunter, will also help out a bit, but she too lives in Alaska. Leslie said Beth, Jennifer and employee Lael Meidal will be in the shop on a daily basis selling cheeses, cured meats, fresh daily Breadfarm baguettes, chocolates, crackers and so much more. Leslie said she encourages people to stop by and try some free samples of delicious cheeses.

For more information, call Quel Fromage at (360) 671-0203 or visit They are open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

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