Sometimes the best ideas come when we least expect them.
For 31-year-old Amy Mac, her lightbulb moment came on the biggest day of her life.
“Back in pre-COVID days when me and my husband were getting married, I couldn’t find a charcuterie board to take for our first look. I went to the local companies and nobody would sell a box for takeaway and I pitched my wedding photographers the day of my wedding and said, ‘I want to do this,’” she says. “Literally we were driving to the Green Lake lookout and I pitched my wedding photographers.”
Not everyone is prone to making business deals on their wedding day, but in the case of the former Sushi Village server, she saw a niche that needed filling, and, less than a year after her summer 2019 wedding, Picnic Whistler was born.
Offering an array of pre-made and customizable charcuterie boards, takeaway boxes and packages for everything from intimate two-person picnics to table setups for large-scale events, it’s not an exaggeration to say Picnic Whistler has exploded in popularity since launching less than two years ago.
“When I started it … I thought I would be a caterer, what I wanted for my wedding. I was totally focused on that and then all of a sudden the real estate agents were loving the charcuterie as home-buying gifts, people were loving it for birthdays or a Friday night in,” Mac says. “We just expanded so quickly that we got a commercial kitchen after only a couple months in business, which seemed like a crazy investment at the time, but it really worked out for us.”
Now, Mac is channelling that growth into a brick-and-mortar Picnic Whistler shop, with plans to open in Whistler Village in mid-May. Mac says the store will be set up like a deli, where customers will be able to buy pre-made boards or purchase all the fixings individually and create their own.
“You’ll be able to come and buy any meat or cheese by any amount you want, along with a bunch of different dried goods and some sandwiches, and of course all the sizes of our charcuterie boards will be available daily,” she says.
What strikes you first about Picnic Whistler’s boards are their eye-grabbing aesthetics. The boards are meticulously arranged not just by flavour profile, but also by shape and colour to ensure each customer is feasting with their eyes as much as their taste buds.
“People get the boards and the reactions are just the best. That’s the best moment for me,” says Mac. “Everything is curated to go with something else in the box, but also we take into account the visuals. That cheese is just a little too orange or a little too off-white for us, so we’re like, ‘Nope, can’t do it.’ It’s as much about the visual as it is taste for us.”
On paper at least, launching a business just weeks into the pandemic like Mac did would not seem the best of ideas, but like the sourdough craze that took hold at the beginning of COVID-19, the pandemic has come with a renewed interest in charcuterie.
“There still were celebrations; there were still birthdays. Life still went on even though we weren’t allowed to do the normal things,” Mac says. “So having a delivery option in Whistler was the perfect kind of fit for what we went through as a community.”
Between COVID and Whistler’s penchant for entertaining, it’s no wonder Picnic Whistler took off the way it did.
“We have been in Whistler for 12 years now and I’ve been a part of the community the whole time, but the sense of community I’ve felt since starting this company and the support we’ve gotten locally, I’ve never felt more in love with Whistler than I have after starting this,” Mac says. “The power of our community here is unmatched.”
To learn more, visit picnicwhistler.com.