This week I am so excited to introduce you to local Chatham mom Allison Slater!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I was born in Chicago, but moved to Toledo, OH when I was 10 years old. I moved to NYC after college, and then to NJ after my daughter was born. I was in Maplewood to start for 10 years, and just moved to Chatham in April of 2020 (at the beginning of COVID! It was quite the experience!)
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
Yes! A daughter who just turned 12 this month, Emilia.
Favorite things to do with your kids?
Cook & dance in the kitchen to 80s music… huggle (our own word for hug/snuggle) and watch Netflix… travel… do puzzles….
Favorite places to eat & shop in the area?
Shopping- downtown Madison, Maplewood, Summit. I love gift store and coffee shops. But I do most of my other shopping online these days!
Eat- Sorriso kitchen, Scalini Fedeli, Mexican Spice, Chianti, TM Ward (coffee), Lorena’s (Maplewood), Committed Pig (Summit), Central & Main (Madison)
Favorite form of self care?
SLEEP!! A good long 5-6 mile walk!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
Lunchbox on Main! After feeling stuck in the corporate world for 20 years, with the onset of COVID and losing my job, it seemed like a sign to change gears and pursue a long time dream of owning a local food based business to serve my community. As I thought about what type of business to start, I thought about how I had built my own practice of meal planning & prep (after several years of struggling with what I call the “lunchtime dilemma”). So I decided to take that as a foundation to build an idea on to help provide a healthy lunchtime alternative to busy working parents. The idea took many forms before it came to fruition, I beta-tested it for a few months and captured feedback from over 200 “taste testers”, and finally launched in October of 2020.
One of my long-term goals with Lunchbox is to pair up with a local charity or food bank or shelter (or all!), and either help raise money to donate, or donate meals to those in need. Homelessness and hunger have always been causes I have supported in various ways over the years, it is something that my daughter has learned to care about as well. So together we want to find a way through this business to bring food to those who need it.
If you could give one tip to fellow Mom Entrepreneurs what would it be?
Well, I am still very new to this, but I guess a few things I would say are:
Don’t be scared to follow you dream. You are never too old to reinvent yourself or try something new. This is something I am hoping to demonstrate to my daughter through this venture. I don’t know how the future will look, but I want her to know that you can always take a chance and pivot, and see what comes of it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice from those around you. Take the support when it’s offered. Be bold, be strong.
It takes time, be patient… I am just starting out and have to remind myself of this daily!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Hmmm… not sure. Maybe that I am more of an introvert than extrovert? Or that I was actually a high school track star back in my day! (LOL). Or maybe that growing up I didn’t like dogs… because those who meet me now know how much I love dogs, that they would be surprised to learn that was not always the case.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
When I started beta testing Lunchbox on Main, I posted on local facebook groups to recruit “taste testers”. The response was really positive and supportive, and I received a lot of great feedback that helped me shape the idea of this business. I also reached out to a few of my new neighbors… being new to the community I didn’t know too many people, and these people forwarded my information to their friends, and the network grew. Word of mouth is always the best marketing!
So, the community really made this come to fruition! Without their support and interest and feedback, I would not have been able to get this off the ground, and for that I am extremely grateful, and will try to give back as much as possible to the community.