Michelle Hill spent decades working in corporate marketing and advertising, but never felt truly fulfilled until a layoff in 2019 from a cable TV company gave her the opportunity to consider what she truly wanted out of life. Drawing on a lifelong love of cooking, she made a dramatic pivot and launched her own culinary business, Good Eatin’, that specializes in charcuterie and Southern favorites including pimento cheese and chicken salad.
Approaching the business’ one-year anniversary on Jan. 29, Hill took a moment from her busy schedule preparing her fare at her station in Little Rock’s Arkitchen cooking facility to share the story of how she has carved out success. As she sliced and colorfully arranged the cured meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, nuts and garnishes that make up her inventive platters, she served up the tasty history of Good Eatin’.
“Charcuterie is here to stay and it’s been around a long, long time. It may be new to America, but it’s not new to the French,” explained Hill, who has trademarked her various tray and box names in addition to the business name itself and her slogan, “Delightful Charcuterie Creations and Delectable Southern Dishes.”
“I liked making sausage and cheese plates when I invited people for dinner, and one day a light bulb went off. I made some boxes for a few friends and asked if they thought I could do this. They were extremely encouraging, and I’ve never slowed down since.”
A native of Mississippi, Hill spends Wednesdays through Fridays (orders must be placed by preceding Sundays) preparing dozens of trays for weekend parties and events. She also devotes a lot of time and her marketing expertise to social media marketing, which has fueled her rise along with the fast-spreading word of mouth from satisfied customers.
Hill’s site (www.goodeatinar.com) displays the full range of boards and boxes that she offers, with her “ArkieCuterie” board – a wooden board in the shape of the state of Arkansas – especially popular and able to serve 5-6 people at $85. Other options include “BoardCuterie” platters that serve 6-7 people on a ceramic board for $90, or 6-8 people on a wooden board for $110.
Those with a sweet tooth can order her “SweetCuterie” boxes with cookies, chocolates, candies and more starting at $35. But the biggest sellers in the coming days are likely to be the “FootballCuterie” football-shaped plastic tray of Game Day goodies for the Super Bowl at $75 and the “ValentineCuterie” heart-shaped plastic tray for $50.
“I think one of the things that sets me apart is I’m very committed to everything being made fresh, and I make all my boards to order, so I don’t have extras lying around that people can just call and pick up,” noted Hill. “I also package the crackers separately to ensure they stay dry and intact. No two boards are ever the same, because I like to make things differently each time so that repeat customers are always nicely surprised.”
Hill allows her customers to pick up their orders from the Arkitchen (located at 9813 W. Markham), though she also delivers within a 10-mile radius for a $10 delivery fee. A resident of Maumelle, she will deliver within its city limits for just $5 and also facilitates pickups at Achor Family Pharmacy there.
“The hardest part is that I’m a brand-new entrepreneur, so I’m learning how to navigate all the different moving parts of being an entrepreneur on a monthly basis through trial and error,” said Hill. “But the fun part is double, because it’s so much fun building out my BoxCuteries and BoardCuteries, because I can be creative.
“At the same time, I’ve absolutely loved the relationship side of it, the people I’ve met from all walks of life that have become my customers,” she added. “Many of them become friends and repeat customers, so that’s been great.”
To learn more and order from Good Eatin’ visit www.goodeatinar.com or call (501) 515-9752.