Supporting local businesses has become more important during the pandemic. Stephanie Scala has figured out a creative way to show her support.
“One of my missions with Roc Boards is to really support local business as much as I can. For example, the cheeses I try to get from local dairy farms as much as I can and even down to the little details like nuts that I put on my boards are all locally made, even the honey as well,” said Scala.
To her surprise, the business has become more than just selling her products.
“I’ve made so many connections and relationships in Rochester through the business. I was expecting to start, hoping to get some customers, but there were so many people that reached out or who I reached out too about wanting to be featured on my boards, wanting to really support me in any way that they can,” said Scala.
Much of the Scala’s support has come from her social media accounts, where she posts a variety of vibrant Charcuterie boards.
“Today, it is all about that Instagram photo or that Instagram post and that definitely has been a huge part of my business think that is what made the word about Roc Boards spread so quickly,” Stephanie Scala said “People love to take photos of it, so with food that looks so different and unique like that, people take photos of it more and post them, which helps the business spread further.”
Scala communicates with her customers through social media. Instagram, along with Facebook, is where customers can reach out and buy a board. These platforms have been a huge part of jump starting her business.
“Nowadays, social media use for small businesses is so important. It is so carefully planned and well thought out as a business owner and you always want to be present on it,” Stephanie Scala said “you want to be unique and find different ways to attract more and diverse customers but still always posting but not too much. It’s really all about finding that perfect blend of the two,” Scala said “ For my customers I put it like this, they’ll be scrolling and see my product and think, I can use this for the upcoming weekend, where as if I wasn’t posting frequently they would have never saw it and thought that.”
Like Scala’s boards, her following is vibrant and unique.
“It’s really a wide variety, like myself being almost 24, I get the younger crowd. Most of my followers are also young and really is how I gained that demographic. But I also get the older generations as well like moms that want to have a girl’s night out or just stay in and eat a board with friends as an appetizer. I also get a lot of brides for their weddings, especially now because they are going to be smaller weddings,” said Scala.
Charcuterie boards have become a popular trend during the pandemic, with many trying out their first boards at a social gathering with friends. Scala’s passion for charcuterie stems from her love of culinary arts and conversation. Whether it’s a wedding or a small gathering with friends and family, there is almost always food involved, and that’s what Scala loves most about her business.
“I just love serving people, talking with people and I feel like that’s one of my favorite parts about Roc Boards because when you’re doing a board you are sharing conversation over it. Whether you’re at a table with friends or a party, it helps spark conversation,” said Scala.
There is plenty of conversation around Scala’s boards, all of which have a story behind them.
“I like to do theme boards, so this summer I did a summer happy hour board which included burrata from a local pizzeria, which the owner makes his own for his pizzas. I was able to take advantage of that and this board featured his product and business peels on wheels pizza,” said Scala.
Photo by Stephanie Scala
Many of the boards displayed on Scala’s Instagram and Facebook are of meats, cheeses, nuts, and sweets that are from the Rochester area.
“local cheese farms I use is a business called Muranda cheese in waterloo, I also go to Giordano’s cheese shop in Rochester at the public market; which is a place I used a lot when the weather is nice because they have all the fruits and local cheeses there. It’s also just a great opportunity to support small business.” said Scala.
Other small business products Scala features on her boards are garnishing items like specialty nuts she gets from a company in Fairport by the name of Natsnuts, and plenty of local honey spots in Rochester like Laura’s honey, honey side up, and Brighton honey where she’ll get honeycombs for the boards.
Scala’s boards showcase a variety of products from local Rochester businesses.
“What I like about charcuterie and the boards that I make is that no two boards are the same. You can switch it up in so many different ways; it can have a theme to it, you can have an Italian charcuterie board which would feature all the Italian meats and cheeses. You can also do a French one with gourmet French cheeses,” Scala said
There are many different trends coming out on social media that inspire new ideas for Scala’s charcuterie boards.
“A theme on Instagram right now is making breakfast charcuterie boards that have pancakes with chocolate chops on them, and one thing that I offer are I Offer are dessert boards with a bunch of different desserts where I get products from a bunch of different local bakers,” said Scala.
The opportunities are endless, with some people really getting into charcuterie starting to make taco themed boards. However, starting your own business doesn’t come without a few struggles along the way.
“I don’t like to say no to people. Ill overbook myself on a weekend and it will get really stressful.” said Scala.
Scala, who is a recent master’s graduate at SUNY Brockport, works full time as well as working on her business full time as well.
“Each board takes me a good amount of time to make because I put so much detail into it. Additionally, this is my side hustle right now while I still work full time during the week, so I tend to spread myself a little too thin most times,” said Scala.
One thing Scala doesn’t have a problem with is people to order more and more boards. Scala recalls the first customers she had while being for hire.
“It was only like four or five during this last mother day, but my first ever customer was someone that I didn’t even know who found me through Instagram which was a really cool feeling. I knew I was going to have a couple friends order, but having my first ever order from a stranger is cool because it was somebody that actually thinks they are worth buying and got me really excited about the whole thing,” said Scala.
The Instagram app and her iPhone were the only things Scala needed to get her business up and running.
“Since I started, I’ve just been taking my own photos of the boards on my iPhone and like I said its really important to get that photo because then it spreads further faster,” said Scala.
Ron Davis, Scala’s boyfriend, helps out where ever needed and understands how much work she puts into the business.
“She takes so much on, but always gets it done. That is the difference, she’s always busy; she goes to the gym every day, she’ll make boards, she works full time, she’ll then come home and work on the boards more, and she’s always trying to think of new ideas,” said Davis.
From running around delivering boards for her business, Davis knows that she is doing something she loves.
“The time and effort she put into every board is honestly unreal and shows she really cares,” said Davis.
Pursuing your passions doesn’t come without uncertainty, and Scala’s Roc Boards has brought more fun and joy than she could have imagined.
“When I Started, I was really hoping that people were just interested and that it would keep me busy on the weekend, but it’s turned into so much more than that and I’m so grateful for it,” said Scala.
Scala recently passed her first milestone as a small business owner, teaching a charcuterie class to the public. Moving forward, she has bigger goals and higher aspirations for her business and eventually wants to open up her own shop.
Roc Boards is taking on a huge endeavor in the next coming months to move to Westchester to continue the business full-time. The future is bright as her next chapter as a business owner begins, and will continue to make long lasting conversations over her boards for her supporters in Westchester just like she has done in Rochester.