Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT What Clark Cooked!
Four questions with Melissa Clark, founder of What Clark Cooked.
Why did you start your business?
I’ve never been very good at being lead, I always wanted to lead, and I found working in restaurant kitchens to be too akin to my previous career in fashion and furnishings – a cog in the wheel. I started doing my own thing in the Bay Area, CA in 2013 and rebuilt on the East Coast in 2017. I like the freedom this work affords me in working with many different people, tastes, and preferences – it forces me boldly out of my comfort zones which means my culinary education never stops, which is how I like it.
What is your best-selling product/service?
Giving people their time back. That’s ultimately what my product is, across the categories of family meals, dinner and cocktail parties, or supplemental help with hosting. The food is a delicious, beautiful side effect, but people's time is back to spend with family, friends, a passion project, a workout, or just a moment to breathe, that’s the real product.
How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?
If the small business sells ingredients, I probably support them at one moment or another! Apart from the grocery stores, we all know and love, I’m in and out of all the local specialty shops gathering cheeses, wines, pasta, charcuterie, specialty meats, and hard-to-find produce. I often buy from Riverbank Farm, Seacoast Mushrooms, Two Guys from Woodbridge, Woodland Farm, Oui Charcuterie, and Farming 101. My favorite “local” shops are Folkway Wines, Ridgefield Organics, Greenwich Cheese Co., and Bon Ton fish market.
Have you "reimagined" your small business?
It’s changed quite a bit from where I started and traveled from CA to NJ to CT with work in 6 nearby states, but the biggest reimagining is to come – I’d love to go brick and mortar. I have three concepts that I’d love to bring to fruition over maybe 7 years, all in a hamlet, all on one block, with a shared prep kitchen in the back. I’m nothing if not modest.
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!