Paige Cook got her love of food from her grandmother, a chef her whole life. Growing up in Bridgeville, Cook developed a love of charcuterie boards when she was young, thinking that designing the boards was more an art form than food. She began creating the boards for family as well as friends of family, eventually growing her offerings and leading to her formation of Get On Board which will open in the former Josephine Keir Building on Walnut Street.
“I am currently working full time at a high school with special needs students,” Cook said. “I absolutely love doing it and it will be hard to leave once I become full time with the shop. I teach a cooking class for my students every Friday to really show them that it is not hard and it’s something they can love doing.”
Her love of food and the beauty of charcuterie boards is what made her decide to start Get on Board so that she could share that joy with others. Cook grew up in Bridgeville, recently moving to Milford. She worked in the restaurant industry for 12 years, most recently bartending at EasySpeak during the summers for three years.
“Opening a shop has always been the long term goal of my business,” Cook said. “Downtown Milford is slowly becoming a place where small businesses are opening and booming. There is so much to offer to a business that opens on Walnut Street. Each small business in Milford supports a new small business, so I can’t wait to offer items and partner up with businesses to support one another. There really is nothing like this around which makes it so much more exciting knowing I get to start something new that is not common to this area. I am so excited to see my vision/dream board really come to life and to put my own style into a shop that is mine and really showcase what I do. I also am ready to see all this stress of opening a business is worth it. I know it will be, but shew, it’s a lot, but hey, we’ll get there!”
Get on Board will offer take out charcuterie boards made every morning as well as small grab and go boxes for lunches. There will also be cold merchandise including specialty meats and cheeses that you can’t find at the local grocery store. Cook plans to offer dry merchandise like mustards, jams, honey, crackers, nuts and other items that can be used on charcuterie boards or as gifts.
“I will also have different boards, cheese utensils and wine accessories available for purchase,” Cook said. “One of my main goals as a small business is to support other small businesses, so I do plan to get in contact with multiple local businesses to put some of their products in the store as well as candles, shirts, tumblers, etc. With having small business items in my shop, it will not only help me, but will help spread the word about their business.”
Cook also plans to hold paint nights as well as “sip and shop” events once the doors to Get on Board opens. She plans to have a bar with seats where people can order a glass of wine or a local craft or domestic beer with one of her custom charcuterie boards. The space is available for meetings and is also going to be designed as a place to visit before heading out to dinner or a great place for a girl’s day out.
“In addition to the charcuterie, I have a luxury picnic addition to my business that offers rentals of peacock chairs, igloo, picnic tables, wedding décor along with custom floral arrangements,” Cook said. “I will be able to showcase some of the items I offer for this service as a lot of people don’t know I offer it. The new space will make it easier to show people in person what else I offer versus only on social media.”
The most challenging part of opening the new business for Cook will be finding a rhythm. She knows she needs to set hours that will be best not only for customers but for herself. She also is not sure what her “busy time” will be until she gets open.
“Every business has their challenges,” Cook said. “It’s all about what works best for myself as an owner all while making sure I please the customers.”
Cook credits Zack and Marissa King with pushing her to take this step, explaining that they have provided her with the support she needed to get the shop open.
“Opening this shop has been my end goal for my business since I started, but I definitely did not think I’d get the opportunity as quickly as I did,” Cook said. “I am looking forward to seeing my dream become a reality. When I started Get on Board, I did not know it would take off in the way it did, but I couldn’t be more thankful it did. Working with my customers, finding out what they want and making it come to life is the best part. So many people want smaller options for that day or just a grab and go lunch and its hard to offer that right now. Not to mention, it will allow me to have my own space to really get creative and offer more than just a normal charcuterie box. Opening this shop will allow me to do those things and offer so much more to locals whenever they’d like versus only on special occasions.”
The opening date is difficult to nail down right now, Cook explained. Many items are still in limited supply due to COVID, but the goal is to get in to set everything up by the end of spring so she can open Get on Board during the summer or fall. Cook is not hiring now, joking that she would be a “one man show” for a while until she can grow the business enough to hire others to help her.
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