Coronavirus: Stories of How Entrepreneurs in Cherokee County, Georgia are Adapting, Part 4
Story 4: Lauren and Cody Bolden, Pie Bar, Woodstock, GA
— Started in 2015 after the Boldens quit their “normal jobs” to start a pie shop, the Pie Bar Community has grown and now includes Pie Bar Woodstock, Pie Bar Commissary, and our Made-for-You line of Pie Gifts, Pie Provisions.
- How has the COVID-19 situation impacted your business recently?
As a business in the food industry, we rely heavily on foot track through or doors. Unfortunately, our current climate does not promote or allow that as an option. We have seen a dramatic decline in the volume of customers visiting our store, but we have seen an increase in the average ticket price per person. People are wanting to support local businesses, so they are “stocking up” on pies and purchasing a higher volume than they normally would.
- How have you and your business adapted to the situation?
We have made and are making the necessary adjustments to stay in demand. Pie is not a necessity, but food is! We have pivoted on our business model that leans heavily on sweet pies and are transitioning into a new (hopefully temporary) model that relies on savory pies. Although savory pies have always been an important part of our business, they have only been a small part of our overall sales.
We have also been taking proactive steps to try and stay ahead of the curve, based on state mandates in other parts of the country. These steps include a “to-go” only policy, a curb-side call ahead option, a 6’ social distancing rule, a pre-bake option on frozen items and an incredibly in-depth cleaning regiment. We are also preparing to offer window-only service, have included DoorDash and GrubHub to our delivery options and will likely offer local deliveries with our own transportation.
- How have you prepared and led your team/employees?
We have been very honest with our team. We work with them every day. We know them well, and we know their personal situations at home. As our situation develops, we are closely monitoring the options becoming available for SBA disaster loans, Georgia Department of Labor and federal relief and we are sharing that information with them. On the other hand, we are working hard to keep spirits high. If we have to reduce hours, we are ensuring that our team knows it is at no fault of their own and that will continue to be creative about ways to increase revenue so we can bring them back as soon as possible.
- What new things/perspectives (or old ones reinforced) have you learned about yourself, your business, and/or your community?
Diversifying within your business is incredibly important. On the surface, we seem like the most undiverse (not a real word..but go with it) business ever — we sell just pie! However, we are fortunate enough to have multiple sales channels for our products. This has been instrumental in situations where our main revenue stream (our retail location) is negatively impacted.
Diversifying within your business is incredibly important. This has been instrumental in situations where our main revenue stream (our retail location) is negatively impacted.
- How have you stayed focused and positive?
We stay off of social media as much as possible, outside of interacting with our customers. We plan ahead so that when the situation develops we already have several options outlined. We drink nightly margaritas.
- What are some encouraging thoughts or stories you have heard that have kept you grounded?
The community outreach has been really life-giving. The people who send us messages and support from afar are amazing. We have a lady based in the mid-west who decided she wanted to send someone a pie a week, just so she could help us stay open. We have customers who have bought 10+ pies at a time to make sure we can open the next day and keep people employed. Generosity shows what an amazing community we really have.
The community outreach has been really life-giving.
To learn more about Lauren and Cody Bolden or Pie Bar Woodstock — including ordering pies, swag, or coming up with creative support ideas like buying one pie a week to give away — visit https://orderpiebar.com/ or @orderpiebar on Facebook and @pie_bar on Instagram.
Stay tuned tomorrow, Saturday, March 21, 2020, for our fifth story and entrepreneur. We hope you are inspired by these stories and motivated to stay in the game to support them together.
Have ideas, questions or stories? Reach out to us at cherokeega.org or emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.