YORK-Alana Soper had worked in the dental field for a decade when she and her husband had to make the choice as to who would stay home with the kids and who would continue to work when the covid-19 pandemic hit. Soper and her husband had two children entering kindergarten and a two-year-old at the time. While they were debating, fate intervened, and the decision became less complicated.
“I found out I was pregnant, so it quickly became me staying home because I was really sick during the pregnancy,” said Soper. “After the baby was born, I realized there was no way I could go back to work, but I still wanted to have a purpose. Not that being a mom isn’t purposeful, but I needed something to work on just for myself.”
Soper started googling ideas to grow a small business and decided to open Graze Charcuterie. Based out of Raleigh, NC, her business celebrated its one-year anniversary on March 16.
“It’s been a really good year and we’ve expanded to Virginia,” said Soper. She’s recruited a longtime friend to run Graze Charcuterie in Yorktown. Soper met Carly Bowen while they were in middle school, and both graduated from Grafton High School, Soper in 2012 and Bowen in 2011. Their friendship has proved to be a reliable constant through everchanging years.
“When Alana would come to town to visit, I would always ask her to buy a board for when I would have friends over for special occasions like wine night,” said Bowen. “They were always a total hit and a great conversational piece.”
When Soper asked Bowen to operate the business in Yorktown, she was more than happy to oblige. They both have similar family dynamics in their households. “She has children at home just like I do, and they are very similar in age,” said Bowen. “I thought if she can do it, so can I.”
Bowen will be operating Graze Chartcuterie from her home in Yorktown while Soper sticks with the Raleigh branch. The duo officially opened in Yorktown on Saturday, March 12 while hosting an event at Warwick Assembly of God and then a charcuterie workshop at Tradition Brewing Company the following day.
The artfully designed charcuterie boards are typically filled with multiple meats, cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, olives, jam, and crackers. Whether customers are seeking a charcuterie board for two, or a grazing table for 300, eye-catching spreads are available for large parties and intimate events. Boards can be picked up or delivered and require a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for smaller boards, while feasting boards require a few days’ notice.
Those interested in learning how to create charcuterie boards will have the opportunity at Graze Charcuterie’s next workshop on Sunday, April 24, at 1pm at Tradition Brewery Company in Oyster Point. The cost is $40 per person.
“We just announced that we’re doing preorders for Easter,” said Soper. “We’ll arrange for customers to pick up their orders the Saturday before Easter for their gatherings. The boards will be wrapped, so they can be used that day or the following.”
Boards typically range in price from $25 for the mini board to $125 for the large board. Hours of operation are 9am to 8pm Monday through Sunday. For more information on Graze Charcuterie, please click here.