Help us open a storefront in Old East Durham! We’re trying to bring coffee, pie and baked goods to our local community!
About this project
The Quick and Dirty
We’re looking to raise $20,000 to move our business out of a certified home kitchen into a bakery and café space in Old East Durham. Keep reading… we’d love to tell you more!
Where We Are Now
East Durham Pie Company began in owner Ali Rudel’s certified kitchen in her home on East Main Street. You can read more about the beginning of this journey in The Herald Sun (“East Durham Pies: Resident launches baking business out of her home”) and in Indy Week (“How cancer and one baker’s subsequent battle against it inspired the great new East Durham Pie Company”).
We use local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible and our menu changes with the season. This is because we believe that spending our dollars locally helps to build a strong local food economy. Some of the incredible local farms and businesses we’ve worked with include Funny Girl Farm, Open Door Farm, Kalawi Farms, Ever Laughter Farm, Levering Orchard,Waterdog Farms, Slingshot Coffee Company, Brothers Vigalys, Latta’s Egg Ranch, Homeland Creamery, Maple View Farm, Woodfruit, Eastern Carolina Organics, Farmer Foodshare, andThe Durham Co-Op Market.
With nearly one in five residents of Durham living in poverty, we cannot ignore the role we play as business owners in making a positive impact in our own community- we have a firm commitment to paying our employees a living wage and are a Durham Living Wage Project Certified employer. And we’re looking forward to creating more jobs when we open our shop!
Our handpies can be found at businesses throughout Durham, and for a few hours each week you can purchase pie by the slice at one of our Pop-Up Slice Shops (we’re at Ponysaurus Brewing Company every Tuesday evening, others are more random). But every day we get requests from customers and hear the same questions “Where can I buy your stuff? Where are you located? How can I get more?”
Did you know that in just a few short months of business we were voted as finalists for Indy Week’s Best of the Triangle “Best Pie in Durham”? Seriously guys, we’re flattered.
The truth is, demand is greater than what we can do in a home kitchen. We have to turn down events and orders because of our capacity, and with several days of advance prep work and baking we can only hold events for a few hours at a time or else we sell out.
Did you know it takes two hours to bake pies when our oven is full and we can only bake six whole pies at once? In a commercial oven we could bake as many as 36 pies, and in half the time! In order to grow and expand, to increase capacity, to have more retail hours, we need to move the pie company out of our certified home kitchen and into a storefront.
How We’ll Expand
The short answer is: with your help! So far we have grown this business through bootstrapping– with each order we’ve been able to invest a little back into the company and buy supplies and small equipment here and there. But to move into a cafe bakery we’ll be faced with some pretty large expenses that will require a much larger investment. We’ll have equipment costs (an oven, refrigeration, sinks, coffee brewing equipment, a dishwasher, seating, cash register, shelving and storage) and the costs associated with building out the space (gas hookup and a ventilation system for the oven, electrical, plumbing and carpentry). So we’re asking for a little help from those who love our products and want to see us take it to the next level.
Our goal is to raise $20,000 through many small donations from individuals like yourself. This money won’t cover all of our costs, but it will help us get the financing we need from lenders to bring the storefront to life.
Our Vision and What’s Next
We’re looking to open a cafe and bakery in the commercial district of Old East Durham. Just down the road from our certified home kitchen, many of these storefronts are vacant or closed to the public. Right now there is no place within walking distance for our neighbors to grab a coffee or a bite to eat.
We can’t say too much about the actual space just yet, but we promise we are excited to let you know as soon as we can reveal details! What we can talk about is our vision for the space!
The shop have an open kitchen and bakery visible to everyone who walks in the door. We’ll offer locally roasted coffee, tea, the seasonally-inspired handmade sweet pies you already love, plus savory meat and veggie pies, breakfast pies, simple salads, soups and other baked goods.
We love our neighborhood and our neighbors, and want to create a cozy and inviting space where folks from our community can meet, work with access to free wi-fi, grab a cup of coffee and share breakfast, lunch or dessert with friends. It will be a space where folks can pick up their pie orders (finally!), where we can fill larger orders and where we’ll be able to increase our wholesale production to expand into more of the Triangle.
How You Can Help
The biggest way you can help is to spread the word. Share this campaign with your friends, share it with your neighbors, anyone who might be interested in what we’re doing. We have lots of fun rewards for contributions of all sizes. T-shirts, pie, classes, mugs, stickers… and we’ll be adding a couple of surprises along the way!
A Quick Thanks
We also want to take this opportunity to thank the folks that have helped us with this Kickstarter. Thank you so much to all the wonderful folks who took the time to speak with us about their own experiences with Kickstarter, and to Kate, Areli, Aidil and Nicky for agreeing to say such kind things about us on film. And a huge shoutout to Yuri Vaysgant Photography for spending so much time with us and filming our Kickstarter video and helping us tell this story. And to all our friends, family, neighbors and pie lovers for helping to spread the word!
Risks and challenges
We’ve done everything we can to make the risks involved in this project as calculated as possible. Starting a food business is challenging, even with all the resources in the world. We’ve been doing our homework, attending workshops, working with mentors and counselors, speaking to other local business owners (big shout out to all the help we’ve gotten from existing business owners… seriously, what an awesome community to be a part of), getting financial and legal assistance (if you need recommendations… we’ve got ’em), and planning for best and worst case scenarios. We expect each day to bring new challenges, like inspections, finding an awesome crew to help run the shop, and whether we can keep the buildout timeline on track… it’s impossible to predict what will go wrong, but we fully expect things will. We invite challenges, and plan to tackle them head-on, and we appreciate your faith in us as we work out the kinks. We couldn’t do it without you!