We had the good fortune of connecting with Solange Comer and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Solange, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk. This word is often defined by a negative connotation, yet when risk is taken, positive and amazing things can happen! Sure, taking a risk is scary, and makes you vulnerable. But I think about risk in the sense that if I am not putting myself out there, showing my vulnerability and taking a chance on something unseen and scary, then I am not growing. I decided years ago to take some chances and risk everything in my personal life to change and grow. It was the best decision I have ever made. If we are not living for ourselves, then who are we living for? Marriage or not, children or not, being the best you makes for a better partner and parent if you are blessed with those things.
Leaving a 22-year career in teaching to start a business was extremely scary and risky. I knew nothing about running a cheese shop, or how to build one! My family and friends thought I was nuts, and to be honest I felt the same way! But I went ahead with my dreams of owning my own business and started the process. It was at the same time my dad had just started hospice and he was so proud of the leap of faith I was taking. Together with the blessing of my dad and stories of risk and chance he had taken combined with my dream to have a business in the South Bay, I went for it. I am four years in my brick and mortar in October and I am about to make another giant leap and open a second location in December! I am terrified of the risk involved with this second shop, but I said to myself, If I don’t take it, I am not growing. The risk in trying and failing verses not even trying is what life is all about! Not to mention I am way too stubborn to allow failure!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I was little, I wanted to grow up and be an artist. I thought I was so talented with paint and canvas, but little did I know my art would shine through using food instead of paint and my boards were my canvas. When I am in front of an empty board and ready to make it into a cheese and charcuterie board, I get excited! Every cheese that’s cut is cut specifically for its shape and texture. Every charcuterie that is sliced, is folded or flowered just so. The fruit, nuts, and olives are carefully placed next to contrasting colors so they make a statement. Every board that is made in my shop, whether by me or my staff has every component taken into consideration. We take pride in everything that comes out of this shop, and stand by our quality and customer service. Has it been easy to grow this business and keep it alive over the last year? No. It has been a hustle for sure. When the pandemic hit, I quickly realized I needed to pivot to ecommerce and curbside delivery. I did everything I could to make sure my customers new and old were still being serviced. People were stuck at home and not in a great place. I made sure I stayed open and safe so people could still find a way to get what made them happy. Food is satisfying, and comfort food is what was needed. Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese? Or a warm bowl of Mac n cheese? I am grateful I was able to provide the community with what they needed to bring a smile to a family. I have learned life is indeed unpredictable. I have learned we need more kindness and patience. I am just a small cheese shop in a big world, but if I can continue to bring smiles, full bellies, and comfort to others by doing what I love, then I am doing something right.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wow, this is a loaded question! There is so much to do in the South Bay area! I would love my guests to see the lifeguard tower that was painted for Pride month in Hermosa. It was painted in June and will now be a permanent rainbow on our sands! That project was a huge deal for our little city, and it’s not to be missed! Want a place to grab a beer and good food? Hermosa Brewing is a local’s favorite. Uncorked wine shop has two locations to choose from for some wine tasting, and they have our cheese available to nibble on! Lucky 7 coffee and Java Man are two of my stops for coffee and breakfast food, and Brother’s Burritos hits the spot every time! I say grab a bike and hit the strand… you can ride from Redondo Beach clear to Playa and beyond and make a ton of food and drink stops while enjoying the ocean view and people watching!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and friends have been extremely supportive of all my crazy ideas! The Hermosa Beach community has been incredibly supportive of my business especially during the pandemic. I serve all of South Bay and everyone really made an effort to keep coming into the shop and placing orders to keep me going. I truly would not be still open if it wasn’t for all their support. The Hermosa Beach Chamber president and a dear friend, Jessica Accamando has been a driving force and supporter for all the small businesses in Hermosa and one of my biggest cheerleaders. My staff, especially Chris Harrington, has been a huge instrumental piece in keeping the shop running smoothly, keeping up with our CURD NERD cheese club members, and keeping me sane! It truly takes a village and I am so grateful!

Website: culturedslice.com

Instagram: cultured_slice

Facebook: cultured slice- cheese shop

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