Out of work during pandemic, Riverside woman starts charcuterie business, Mel’s Boozy Bites

Laveta Brigham

While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of tough times for people all over the country, one local woman decided to make a big career change. After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona in the spring and finding herself out of a job during the pandemic, Melissa Balderama of Riverside […]

While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of tough times for people all over the country, one local woman decided to make a big career change.

After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona in the spring and finding herself out of a job during the pandemic, Melissa Balderama of Riverside decided to pursue her passions and turn it into a business.

“I was a server for a while. But during the COVID-19 2020 pandemic, unfortunately, I was out of a job, so I had to figure out how to be creative, stay busy, make money as well as have fun,” said Balderama, who said she was furloughed from her job as a lead server at Yardhouse in Riverside.

In the year of the unexpected, Balderama felt like she had nothing to lose.

“I figured I loved cheese, I love wine, I love fabulous and affordable food. So, I figured I make my own charcuterie,” she said. “So with that, I got creative one night and made labels for my name, bought boxes and thought about what would look cute inside plus taste delicious.”

That’s how Mel’s Boozy Bites was born.

Balderama used her social media chops to market her business and spread the word about her charcuterie spreads. People started noticing and now, she has about 30 to 40 orders per week.

“I’m constantly busy, I’m a one-woman show,” she said. “I’m constantly looking for new cheeses to try out and fresh produce — all that good stuff.”

People can check out and order charcuteries online from Mel’s Boozy Bites on Instagram or Facebook. For questions or more info, people can email [email protected]

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