Graze + Gather Charcuterie Board Company Wants to Make Extravagance Accessible

“I think in the pandemic, we learned so much about how we need people and we need community. We feel like we’re helping people find that again.”

Nov 22, 2021 at 6:07 pm
Graze + Gather curates charcuterie and cheese boards - Photo: Provided by Graze + Gather
Photo: Provided by Graze + Gather
Graze + Gather curates charcuterie and cheese boards

When Liz Sheeks and Kalisa Mora started arranging meat and cheese boards together during quarantine, they thought it would be a clever way to impress friends and family at future get-togethers.

Working from home and living together as roommates in Oakley, the pair’s creative outlet of neatly designing decadent cheese boards gained the attention of friends, acquaintances, and thousands of users browsing their Instagram account.

Now, a year and a half later, their passion project has turned into Graze + Gather, a charcuterie experience business that “aims to bring people together to celebrate life in the most beautiful settings possible,” according to its website.

“Anytime someone we don’t know asks us to do a board, we get so excited,” Sheeks tells CityBeat. “Our goal is to get people to just sit down and enjoy the food together and have a conversation. Just have a good time around a dinner table or in a park at a picnic.”

The two, who became friends through church, say they didn’t expect their side hustle to grow as fast as it has. Sheeks works as a full-time digital marketer, and Mora works as a lawyer — and their co-workers and colleagues are among some of their most supportive customers.

click to enlarge Graze + Gather founders Liz Sheeks (left) and Kalisa Mora - Photo: Provided by Graze + Gather
Photo: Provided by Graze + Gather
Graze + Gather founders Liz Sheeks (left) and Kalisa Mora

“It’s nice because it’s not our full-time job so it’s not like we’re reliant on it for the money,” Mora says. “It’s really a passion project for us.”

And Sheeks says the business has pushed them to become a real team.

“Kalisa is the creative visionary, truly,” she says. “I’ve learned everything from her. But now I feel like we’re part of a collaborative partnership.”

They get the majority of their cheeses, meats, jams, bread, fruits and crackers from Kroger, Trader Joe’s and German-owned discount supermarket chain ALDI to keep costs down. For Mora, Trader Joe’s creamy Toscano cheese soaked in syrah is her go-to cheese to add to a board. Sheeks is a fan of any kind of goat cheese and seasonal options, like a cranberry sharp white cheddar she recently found.

“We’re less focused on artisanal, rare cheeses,” Sheeks says. “We’re both really practical people so it’s more about just enjoying really good cheeses that are cost-efficient for anybody.”

At any given time, they’ll scour local ALDI and Kroger stores for dozens of boxes of crackers, dried meats and cheeses. It’s less about introducing people to uncommon cheeses and more about finding good, affordable products that people will want to graze on.

Mora says that a lot of people are unaware of the wide selection of quality cheeses available at stores like ALDI, and they love introducing clients to new items.

“We’re just two girls working from home, and we want it to feel attainable for the average person,” Sheeks says.

While the number of orders ebbs and flows, Sheeks says sales have increased 200% since they first started out. Holidays like Valentine’s Day, and now Thanksgiving and Christmas, have become popular times for orders, she says.

click to enlarge In addition to boards, Graze + Gather can also create custom "grazing tables" - Photo: Provided by Graze + Gather
Photo: Provided by Graze + Gather
In addition to boards, Graze + Gather can also create custom "grazing tables"

Prices for boards start at $60 and serve anywhere from four people to more than 30. Sheeks says one of their favorite parts of building the business included coming up with names for the cheese boards. Boards include: The Host, serving 4-6 people for $60; The Socialite, serving 6-8 for $90; The Entertainer, serving 9-15 for $150; The Baller, serving more than 20 for $230; and The Even Bigger Baller, serving more than 30 for $350

Beyond their regular menu, they offer customizable boards for all party sizes while also designing long “grazing tables.” For $15 per person, Graze + Gather will arrange luscious layers of all types of cheeses and your favorite dried meats on a table for you and your guests.

They have also partnered with local businesses like Taft’s Brewing Co. and Braxton Brewing Co. on classes and brewery experiences. Events have included a Charcuterie Date Night at Taft’s Ale House, where each ticket came with a beautifully arranged charcuterie box built for two people. Guests got one free beer and $1 off beers for the rest of the evening.

Graze + Gather has also offered charcuterie classes at Taft’s Ale House, providing an instructional experience on putting together tasty and aesthetically pleasing boards. Attendees were provided with three types of cheeses, dry salami, pistachios, fruit, honey and crackers.

“I feel like we always want to keep growing and do more,” Sheeks says. “We would love to continue partnering with all these local breweries.”

They’ve hired an additional team member — who’s also a friend — to help with the influx in business. As they fulfill new orders and continue new partnerships with local businesses, they remain focused on why they started the business: bringing people together.

“At the end of the day, cheese is the product and we were passionate about the product but it’s really about community and each other,” Mora says. “I think in the pandemic, we learned so much about how we need people and we need community. We feel like we’re helping people find that again.”

Learn more about Graze + Gather or place an order at grazeandgather513.com.


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