By Lofton Wheeles
For the Opelika Observer
Auburn City Schools teacher Laura Corder has started a side business called CharCutie.
The CharCutie business sells charcuterie boards in the Auburn-Opelika area. Charcuterie boards usually consist of different meats, cheeses, fruits and other types of snackable food items.
Corder started the business in January of this year, and according to her, “it blew up overnight.”
“I was so honored and humbled,” Corder said. “I was also a little frightened and scared thinking, ‘Could I do this?’ because I was getting messages constantly, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to tackle it. But after the initial shock, I got the excitement back of ‘I can do this.’”
Corder has always had a knack for entertaining family and friends, and she said that the charcuterie boards reflect that aspect of her.
“I have always been kind of dubbed the ‘entertainer,’ if you will, of my family and my friends,” Corder said. “I always want to host; I always have an open door at my house. … I love to have family over, friends over and we love to snack and center everything around food.”
Corder mentioned that traditions in her family were part of what inspired her to start a charcuterie business.
“My father and my mother made Christmas so special for us,” Corder said. “When we would get the tree ready to decorate each year, they would get snacks ready … It was nothing crazy fancy, but it would be meats, cheeses, crackers and relish … It was just the most the exciting night because we knew we were getting snacks and, again, it sounds crazy probably to some people, but it was the one of the most highlighted, anticipated nights putting up the tree and the ornaments and getting to sit around and eat snacks.
“That was [then] carried on every year of my life with my family until we moved out. And then when I got married and had children, I continued that tradition every year with my husband and my kids and even still to this day, I have a 13-, 10- and five-year-old, and it is one of their most treasured anticipations that we carry on at Christmas.”
However, it is not always easy to balance a small business, work and a family.
“It has been challenging, especially with three kids,” Corder said. “To go from, ‘Hey, I’ve got three orders tonight for a party,’ to, ‘I’ve got a meeting after school for a conference,’ and, ‘I need you to get this kid to basketball tournaments at this time’ and ‘this kid to dance at that time,’ that part gets a little crazy.”
Corder said her favorite part of the CharCutie business is writing thank you cards for customers.
“I personally write a thank you card to every customer that purchases something, and I know that may sound cheesy with the handwritten note, but I hope that that gives a personal touch to every customer,” she said. “The cards are such a personal touch because I really want them to know how much I appreciate them and [that] I hope they enjoy their box.
Corder finds a lot of joy in making charcuterie boards for people to enjoy, she said.
“I think it’s just the satisfaction of knowing that I made someone happy and, again, knowing that it’s about invitation to the table,” Corder said. “I’ve had so many people say, ‘Hey. This is for an elderly neighbor that can’t get out right now because of COVID and I want to brighten their day with a little charcuterie box for them.’
“[It’s] just those special touches of knowing that I’m a part of somebody paying it forward [and] something like that just really warms my heart. [It’s also] to have people message me and go, ‘Oh my gosh. That was one of the best meat and cheese boards I’ve ever had, I cannot wait to order again.’”
Corder also talked about her appreciation for the support CharCutie has received in a short time.
“I’m just humbled by the community,” she said. “I would never imagine that I would have something like this. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine being a small-business owner with a health permit hanging next to my teaching certificate from the state of Alabama. It’s pretty awesome and humbling above all else.”
If you want to learn more about CharCutie and its types of boards, please visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/CharcutieAuburn.