Mark Pupo lovingly accounts how a family immigrated from Kosovo to Canada and started up a successful cheese business — that thrived even during the pandemic. Pupo clearly adores this little mom-and-pop business, and it sounds like he has good reason to.

As the store prospered, investors approached them with partnership and franchise proposals. Like the Pusateri clan, they could have opened multiple locations across the GTA. But they said no. By way of explanation, Agim mentions a favourite saying of his dad’s: “The eye of the farmer fattens the animals.” Put another way, if you want something done right, do it yourself. The Pristines’ competitive advantage is that it’s their store; keeping the Cheese Boutique in the family means they can make sure it’s plump and healthy.