By Bevan Hamilton 
BELLEVILLE – The owner of a new business in downtown Belleville says he opened Gourmet Diem because he was struggling to find quality ingredients for his own personal cooking.
Jesse deWal says the business at 249 Front St., which opened on Dec. 2, offers a café environment for customers to come in and enjoy a light lunch, fair-trade coffee  and espresso drinks. Gourmet Diem also has a full deli lineup and a wide selection of locally sourced and imported retail items.
DeWal said it’s the deli meats and retail side of the business that sets his café apart from the competition.
“We bring a much-needed service because people struggle to find a good selection of cheeses, high-quality deli meats and great local products downtown.”
The retail products include hot sauce, spices, confectioneries, wine jelly, Turkish delight, peanut brittle, pink peppercorns, graters, can openers and cutting boards. All are made locally in places like Prince Edward County, Brighton or Warkworth.
The first-time business owner said the shop has had a good response so far. Last Saturday’s grand opening was very busy, as were the days leading up to it, deWal said.
All of the deli meats are made by a Sharbot Lake company called Seed to Sausage . It’s products like this that make deWal convinced that his company will be successful in Belleville.
“A lot of the stuff we (sell), you’re not going to be able to buy anywhere else. You can’t go the grocery store and find our stuff.”
DeWal, who has lived and worked in Belleville his entire life, says one of his goals is to expand the business one day.
“I’d just like to be successful and encourage other people to bring some great businesses to downtown. There’s a lot of great potential here.”