Hillsboro added to its growing list of attractions last weekend with the opening of the Virginia Picnic Basket Co.
Located at the eastern entrance to town, just across Rt. 9 from the Old Stone School, the business is owned and operated by Stacey Vacca and Tanya Pederson. The company offers three different types of picnic baskets filled with an assortment of food, as well as picnic accessories like blankets and backpacks. Vacca and Pederson’s vision for the endeavor came earlier this year when discussing business ideas that would allow them to continue being moms.
“We tossed around a lot of ideas,” Pederson said. “I think it’s really fresh and unique.”
The duo pointed to their love of picnicking while on backpacking trips that got them thinking. Since May, they worked to create a business plan, pinpoint a location for their storefront and start creating a variety of picnic baskets.
“It all kind of came together that way,” Pederson said. “We’ve moved quickly.”
The two are inviting picnickers, and those interested in sharing some quality food with friends, to peruse their selection of baskets and give one a try. So far, they have three variations for sale—a Mediterranean Mezze picnic with hummus, veggies, baba ganoush and baklava for $70; an In the Park picnic with homemade chicken salad, fruit, veggie chips, cornichons and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies for $80; and a Bella Notte picnic with charcuterie, caprese salad spears and pear tartlet for $90.
Vacca and Pederson are also planning to introduce another picnic basket next month and even have ideas for winter-themed baskets later this year. More enthusiastic picnicking customers can also spend $600 to sign up for the company’s Wicker Club, which gets them a luxury wicker picnic basket, a four-person winter basket with four seasonal refills, 20 percent off all merchandise and more.
Mayor Roger Vance said that the duo’s business is a good concept with interesting products.
“They’re going to be a great addition,” he said. “We’re really excited about having them.”
Supporting the team along the way has been Pederson’s husband, Andy Ghuzlan, the owner of Andy’s Pizza & Subs. In fact, the Virginia Picnic Basket Co. is the first phase of Ghuzlan’s Hillsboro restaurant idea, called Garden in the Gap and planned to open in the next five years. In September, Ghuzlan also expects to open a Market in the Gap eatery on the property that will sell wood-burning pizza and feature a small gourmet market.
For now, Vacca and Pederson are spreading the word about their business and working together to make it a success. With Pederson’s understanding of how to prepare and sell food, it’s Vacca’s 22-year teaching career that’s helping them better interact with customers. “We’re learning together,” Vacca said.
Customers can order picnic baskets online at virginiapicnicbasket.com and pick them up at the store in town.