The Pie Connection
There are two of us that own, love, labor over and labor in The Whole Pie. We are the quintessential small business. However, we are not, strictly speaking, a family business. Which people find confusing.
Trishia and I are not related. Nor, in my estimation, do we look alike. Yet, a common conversation might go as follows:
Customer: ”Where’s your daughter today?” [referring to Trishia]
Me: ”She’s done for the day. She’s not my daughter, though. We’re not related.“
Customer: “You’re not related at all?
Me: “No, not at all.”
Customer: “Not sisters, or cousins, or anything?”
Me: “No. Not anything.
Customer: “Not even sisters in-law?”
Me: “No, not even that. Did you want a receipt?”
Perhaps it should not be surprising. Trishia and I have known each other a long time and have seen each other through various phases of our lives. We have a familiarity and relaxed manner with each other. We are roughly the same height. We pull our hair back, as required by the public health department. We wear the stylized, adorable aprons made by Denise, Trishia’s actual mother.
But I think it goes beyond that. I think people want to find a connection between us because pie is all about connection. And in creating The Whole Pie, we strived to create a place where more than just the sale of pie happened. We wanted our shop to be a place where pie overlapped with that overused word, “community.”
I love watching our customers run into other customers they know. First there is the excitement of recognition - sometimes involving hugging - and then the headlong rush into catching up with each other. The pull of conversation distracting from all else, even that all-important task of choosing which pie to take home. It’s almost as good as watching customers who have never met before chatting away as if they were life-long friends.
But my favorite time is the weekend afternoons, when the shop fills with people sitting next to each other, trading bites and sharing the flavors of their lives. Sometimes they come in together. Sometimes we are a meeting place. And I know it’s not really about the pie, but the pie helps them feel connected.
There is a Danish word, hygge (which sounds a bit like 'hooga'). It roughly translates to coziness, but is really much more layered. A Xenophobe's Guide to the Danes defines hygge as having to do with people's behavior towards each other. “It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one.” In other words, The Whole Pie.