During a really busy week, Diane Sikorski might bake an astonishing 600 pies for adoring fans of her Humble Pie Baking Co. (586-354-5711). But the most surprising part of that equation is that all of those pies are being baked in her Avon Lake home.
But not for long, she reports. Sikorski and her husband Steve just closed on a retail space in Ohio City. Fittingly, the building (3246 Lorain Ave.) was once home to the Lorain Fulton Bakery, which produced a variety of baked goods and breads.
"It's kind of neat to be breathing new life into it as a bakery again," says Sikorski.
Sikorski, who has a background in hotel management, began baking pies for fun about seven years ago. "In the beginning, I never intended for it to become a business — I couldn't even make a pie crust!" she says. "Finally, I got the hang of it and was making pies all the time."
At first, she was giving them away to friends and family. But before long, she was baking pies for subscribers of Fresh Fork Market, which was her supplier of fresh, local, non-hydrogenated lard. Fresh Fork liked that Sikorski used only local fruit in her pies.
"I'll freeze fruit at the height of the season to use year-round," she explains. "Last year, I froze 5,000 pounds of fruit in commercial freezer space."
Those Fresh Fork orders, combined with her farmers market sales, forced Sikorski to learn how to scale up production to the point where she can grow no more.
"It's taken over the house, so that's why we started thinking about a move," she says.
The building, gutted by vandals, will require a lot of work. Plans are to open Humble Pie by spring of next year. In addition to acting as Sikorski's commercial kitchen, the shop will serve retail customers, who can sit down and enjoy a slice of pie and a hot cup of coffee. Guest will also be able to watch Sikorski make jam, which also will be available for sale.
Don't expect a "cutesy pie shop," says Sikorski; Humble will be "simple, clean and modern." She's currently on the hunt for a local architect as well as a branding and marketing partner to help design her shop and shape her company's look and identity. "I'm the pie maker, not the visionary."
"This is definitely scary," she admits. "But it's also very exciting."