Focused on Black-owned businesses: Tallmadge woman capitalizes on charcuterie hobby
As the youngest of six children who all loved to cook, Angela Warren never got the chance to work on the centerpiece dishes for family gatherings.
Instead, her siblings relegated her to folding napkins, making Kool-Aid or cutting up some cheese as an appetizer.
"I was never allowed in the kitchen. It was always: 'Just go away. We got this,'" Warren said. "Well, I had to outshine them."
At a young age and well before social media was flooded with food influencers, Warren started creating elaborate charcuterie boards with cured meats, cheeses, fruits and nuts.
Her passion for meticulously displayed and paired food continued into college when she would set out cheese trays for friends, and then into parenthood when she would create beautiful boards for her children's afterschool snacks.
But a single Instagram post of one of those afterschool trays in July 2020 has now turned a hobby into a growing business, Say Cheese Charcuterie By Ang.
"I just posted a picture, and someone asked if they could buy one from me. And then I posted their board and tagged them in it to thank them, and then the next person asked to buy one, and the next and the next," Warren said. "The pictures sell themselves because they are so appetizing. And they're really tasty."
Just a few months prior, Warren had been traveling the country training doctors and physicians to use an electronic medical records system. But then she was laid off in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So when that first sale unexpectedly came in, she devoted herself to growing the business.
She had previous entrepreneurial experience running an online gift shop, Sugar Mama Co. by Ang, and selling her all-natural homemade Tower's Treats dog treats through Etsy, but Say Cheese's growth has far outpaced the other two.
"Honestly, I think I've had more success than I would have had if we weren't in a pandemic," she said. "I feel like people are super encouraging right now, and people want to support local."
Say Cheese offers a variety of boxes, boards and spreads that can include cured meats like sopressata, wine-infused salamis and prosciutto; cheese including cheddars, brie, mozarella and goat cheese; dried fruits that Warren dehydrates herself; homemade chocolate-dipped treats; crackers, Caprese skewers, pomegranates and fresh berries; honeycombs or baked goods from Sweet Girls Tasty Treats.
Everything is customizable, and Warren curates boxes based off customer's preferences and allergies.
"I give them what they like, but add something I know they'll like but haven't tried, and I tell them how to pair it with other things in the box," Warren said.
She has gone to people's homes to create elaborate table displays and holiday spreads that start at $265, but also offers lunch boxes at a more affordable price point on Fridays.
"Health care workers and law enforcement can get them for $15, and civilians are $20 with delivery. Civilians can pick up for $15 too," Warren said.
Boxes include three to four meats, as well as cheese, fruits, crackers and other treats.
Warren said she always tries to buy from local businesses to fill the boards, and is currently working on sourcing from different dairy farms.
She added that she gets lots of help from her two sons, Michael and Trenton, who are her opinionated taste testers; her daughter, Elani, who helps her cook and prepare the boards; her stepdaughter, Breaysia, who guides her through the business aspects; and her boyfriend, Marc Moorer, who offers encouragement and advice.
Moving forward, Warren plans to transition https://www.sugarmamacobyang.com into a storefront that also will house Say Cheese Charcuterie and Tower's Treats. She hopes to secure a location by June of this year.
"I want to create a quaint space to showcase local baked good and crafters, and I'm really close, but the main event there would be the charcuterie," Warren said. "I'm in the process of combining it all because I wasn't expecting this to take off so fast."
Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, email@example.com, or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.
At a glance
About the series
Throughout the month of February, the Beacon Journal is profiling Black-owned businesses in Summit County. Read more of these profiles at https://bit.ly/3jb0h1e. The Beacon Journal will continue to highlight minority-owned businesses as part of its ongoing regular coverage.
Have a suggestion for a business to feature? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.