Beloved pie shop Miss American Pie has customers fighting to keep the business open as it fights pandemic-induced financial issues.
Started in 2019 by pie enthusiast and former fashion designer Lindsey Hill, Miss American Pie has become a neighborhood favorite in Park Slope, serving both sweet and savory treats.
“I’ve been baking since I was 16 years old,” Hill said. “I love serving people. So when it came to me as I was trying to figure out what I was going to do after my fashion career, it really came to me like that; spreading love and joy through food is what I was meant to do.”
But right as Miss American Pie was starting to establish its footing and garner some attention from the community, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, devastating the business. Hill was forced to switch from serving patrons at the storefront to only accepting pre-orders for whole pies.
“All my employees at that time had to decide to shelter in place, which was totally understandable, but then I was left with ‘well okay what am I going to do?’” said Hill.
To help support the business, Hill’s husband quit his job in security and learned how to make pies. For about a year, it was just the two of them making pies and, as Hill said, “trying to spread as much joy as possible in what was such an uncertain time.”
Luckily, Hill had been able to save enough money to keep the shop afloat and was able to pay 100% of their rent through 2020.
However, once 2021 rolled around, the funds had run down and business was slowing. Soon, Hill faced thousands of dollars in debt to her landlord and was only able to partially pay rent each month. As inflation increased prices in 2022 and 2023, things started to look dire.
In an attempt to keep her passion and business alive, Hill took to social media on March 9 to post about the financial difficulties Miss American Pie was facing.
“I just felt so beat down, like I’ll never be able to do this [run the business], so I just shared my heart on instagram” said Hill. “I posted a picture that said ‘Hey we are struggling, we don’t have enough employees right now and I don’t know what to do.'”
The post spread like wildfire across the community, and soon, patrons from all over began to flock to the business in droves, up to the point where Miss American Pie was struggling to keep up.
“It was incredible,” Hill said. “Like over the past two weeks our business has been so crazy that we aren’t able to meet the demand every day. And what was so incredible and heartwarming and even brought me to tears was so many people sending me messages saying ‘you can’t close down, you’re my favorite place to go in the neighborhood.’ It was so inspiring.”
Hill said the response to her post was so overwhelming that she has also gotten offers from other businesses to sell her pies wholesale. Despite the recent success and burgeoning popularity of Miss American Pie, Hill said she is still hesitant to consider herself and the business out of the woods entirely.
“I don’t want to get too excited too quickly, eventually [the boost in customers] will die out,” she said. “But at the same time I am hopeful for the changes we are starting to put in place.”
Hill is currently working with a financial advisor from Score, an organization that helps out small businesses and is also seeking a loan to pay her outstanding debt and to help Miss American Pie get back on track.
“We are going to make this happen and it’s just been so overwhelming, inspiring and encouraging to see that we are making a difference and that the community and the people still want us around,” said Hill. “It gives me renewed hope in what we can do and how we can move forward.”