By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Cheryl Standage knew a quaint, from-scratch bakery was in her future, but was also aware the odds were against her.
“The statistics show 99% of all new food businesses go under within the first year,” Standage said. “It’s a tough business because the margins are so low, and the public is so critical.”
Eight years after she opened Piefection at Power and Brown roads, Standage is preparing to open satellite locations in Scottsdale and Chandler. She’ll soon finalize the locations.
Piefection is Standage’s second career; her first was as in corporate human resources management.
“I’m a corporate retread, if you will,” she said. “I left the corporate world and started the bakery. I had an amazing career and I believe that every single job I had in Corporate America led to my success here at the pie shop.
“Plus, I’m pretty stubborn.”
Standage doesn’t have a background in restaurants, but she is a foodie, she said. Her innate talent goes far with Piefection.
“I’ve always loved to bake and cook,” she said. “It’s always been my passion, but I could never take that jump because I knew it would be a pay cut. Then, I semi-retired and had the opportunity to start the pie shop and that’s what I did.”
Piefection is a scratch bakery that sells whole pies to go. They’re made with real Callebaut and Guittard chocolates, as well as real cream and butter, and freshly ground nutmeg. Wild blueberries and Michigan cherries have found their way on to Piefection’s treats.
Standage showcases fruity (country apple and Georgia peach, for example, $14-$19) and creamy (coconut cream and chocolate cream, $14-$17).
Her most popular flavor is the apple pie, which is “amazing,” she said.
“We do a new pie every month,” Standage said. “The pie of the month for October is the spiced apple pecan cheesecake.”
Standage is encouraging customers to order Thanksgiving pies before November 16. Each November, they sell about 8,000 Thanksgiving pies.
“We have a very slick process,” she said. “In all honesty, we’ve timed people and the average time in line is about 5 to 7 minutes. We have all the pies prepaid, so everybody doesn’t have to wait.”
Walk-in customers are welcome as well, but their transactions are made separately from the prepays.
Piefection goes beyond sweet, fruity and creamy pies. It offers pot pies, either frozen for baking at home, or fully cooked and ready to eat after 10:30 a.m. Standage sells chicken ($6.50) turkey ($6.50); green chile pork ($7); Italian beef ($7.50); pizza ($7); chicken enchilada ($7); and Philly cheesesteak ($8) pot pies.
Family pot pies that serve four to five are available in chicken ($17) and green chile pork ($19). Piefection’s lunch special is a pot pie, a slice of pie and a soda for $10.
Standage recently returned from Paris, where she visited the French patisseries that inspired the décor of Piefection.
“We actually did a lot of research to find out what their architect looks like,” she said. “We went this summer and we kept saying, ‘Oh my gosh, all of these little patisseries look just like ours. We nailed it.”