By Hannah Lester
Charcuterie Boards are all the rage and The Grazer Co. is making it easy to have one of the picturesque spreads in your home — or learn to make them yourself.
Nita Louangkhoth had just moved to Thailand for work when the pandemic hit. Her daughter was graduating in the United States in May and Louangkhoth wanted to attend. She knew, however, that with the pandemic, if she came back to the states, she wouldn’t be able to return to Thailand.
So, as her original plans fell apart, Louangkhoth decided in August that it was perhaps time to start a small business of her own in Auburn.
“A mutual friend ordered a box, a grazer box, for her birthday brunch,” she said. “And I was like, ‘You know what? I can do that. I do that for family gatherings, for my family.’ I was like, ‘why can’t I do that for a hobby? Or a side-job?’ And it just kind of grew.”
The Grazer Co. was born and Louangkhoth was making these spreads in her own home for friends and family. But it was popular. And Louangkhoth outgrew a home operation. She began making them out of an official store front at the Bodegas at Midtown Auburn.
Talk about fast growth — The Grazer Co. is already planning to open its second location in Opelika. And Louangkhoth offers her products inside The Well in Opelika, too. And all of this growth has taken place since the fall.
Louangkhoth knew one of the owners of The Well and had provided them with one of her boxes.
“They loved the concept and they thought it would be a perfect item to have at The Well to go with their tea and coffee,” she said.
Having products in The Well has helped with name-brand recognition too, Louangkhoth said, especially in Opelika.
Now, making grazer boxes or charcuterie boards is not the only part of Louangkhoth’s business.
She hosts workshops too, to teach people how to make the spreads themselves.
So, though Louangkhoth’s plans for a job in Thailand did not come through, and though a pandemic was sweeping across the globe, she found some positives, despite the negatives. Namely — the creation of her small business.
“I knew that our small town, that we’re a small town but we have such a big heart for each other,” Louangkhoth said. “The support is just so amazing … I always knew that if I ever wanted to open a business, it would have to be here.”