Insurance agency, cheese-specialty shop emerge at former Dassel's Florist siteDec. 28, 2017
The rear and upstairs at 1380 S. 21st St. houses the Insurance Network of Colorado, a business insurance agency. The ground floor space in front belongs to a new retail store, the Cheese Haus, which focuses on specialty cheese and meats from Wisconsin.
The 1,725-square-foot building sits on a 18,000-square-foot property at the northwest corner of 21st at Busch Avenue. A parking lot is in back.
The renovation was led by Jerry Cooksey, the owner of the Insurance Network. He bought the parcel from the Dassel's estate in 2016, along with a commercial property of the same size just to the north.
Cooksey's agency had been located off Pikes Peak Avenue in Old Colorado City. But he lives nearer to South 21st, and he'd had his eye on the Dassel's site since the early 2000s, he said.
The building needed upgrades after having been a floral business for so long. “It was a huge remodel,” Cooksey recalled. “We rewired and replumbed and put in a new roof.” A new furnace and water heater also were necessary.
Other work included customizing the one-time florist retail area for the Cheese Haus, which opened in December.
Hailing from Wisconsin himself, owner/proprietor Chris Peissig is hopeful his business can become a destination shopping stop. He said his is the only retail store in the region offering premier Wisconsin meats and cheeses. For example, Usinger's, one of the Wisconsin companies supplying his store, has no sales outlet closer than Texas, he said.
Wisconsin cheese is special, Peissig explained, in large part by having indigenous grass that's especially good for the cows that eat it; plus, Wisconsin was settled by farmers from Germany and France who already possessed cheese-making skills.
So how did a business like his synch up with an insurance agency?
It wasn't happenstance. Peissig works for Insurance Network of Colorado. He became an agent there after relocating in 1999 to Colorado Springs - originally living in the Skyway neighborhood, then moving four years ago to the Westside. He started thinking about a Wisconsin-centric food store “years ago,” and finally, around the time Cooksey bought the old Dassel's site, Peissig said he decided “I can make this work.”
The Cheese Haus is open daily.
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