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Meet Tierra Thorne and Colleen Peddycord, two social workers with a shared love of charcuterie that has now led to the launch of their own business. That business is called Blanket & Board, and it delivers immaculate, Instagram-ready picnics to you at a time when both charcuterie and outdoor eating are having a moment. They’ve created outdoor picnic wonderlands for anniversaries, birthdays — even graveside visits.
We talked with the pair about charcuterie as a coping tool, what it’s been like opening a business in Pittsburgh, particularly during a pandemic, and where they hope to go from here. Portions of our conversation follow here, edited for clarity and length.
The Incline: So, how did this get started?
Colleen: We work together as social workers for a childhood trauma treatment center, so we have really stressful jobs. We started spending a lot of time together, and since we’re social workers, and social workers don’t make that much money, when we would travel together we would bring our own charcuterie boards with us. And we decided we should be doing this for other people. It’s COVID-19. Everybody’s stressed out. People need to get outside. And that’s kind of how the business started.
Tierra: I mean, who doesn’t like cheese and meat and wine?
The Incline: In your experience, is Pittsburgh a good place to start a business?
Tierra: I think so. We joked about appealing to hipsters but then there’s been a lot of older people as well. There have been young people, Black people, white people, Asian people. I love the diversity of the people we’re serving. Also there are a lot of resources in Pittsburgh because we are a minority-owned business.
Colleen: And, as social workers, we’re good at finding those resources.
The Incline: Besides charcuterie, how are you coping in the pandemic?
Tierra: Being home with my son more. I really enjoyed that time because previously I was working full-time and in grad school. And riding my bike — that’s extremely freeing for me and extremely therapeutic.
Colleen: Blanket & Board has kept me really busy, and it’s kept me outside a lot. I enjoy just being able to go to different parks and see different parts of the city I don’t normally go to or have a reason to go to. And also keeping my female friendships strong — I am always talking on the phone to close friends, and I see Tierra almost every day.
The Incline: What’s next for Blanket & Board?
Tierra: We’ve been talking about new offerings like grazing tables for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and birthdays. Maybe our own dedicated space for events. It’s just kind of uncertain with COVID-19 right now, but I think when we get back to normal we can see ourselves doing that.
The Incline: What about social work?
Tierra: We would like to continue to work for ourselves, but I know both of us are social workers at heart and that will always be incorporated into what we do in some way, shape, or form. I don’t think any of us could just stop being social workers.
Colleen: No, no we couldn’t.
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