The story behind Calgary’s favourite pie shop

Arguably the best pie in the city!

By Calgary Citizen Staff | October 24, 2021 |9:50 pm

Photo: Submitted

Pie Junkie recently made headlines with the successful opening of their newest location in Crowfoot, growing their team to over 60 full and part-time employees. Selling out of their iconic pies for Thanksgiving their pies have become a sought-after delicacy, made from scratch here in the city. 

We sat down with Co-founder, Nancy Goemans to learn the story behind this delicious Calgary brand, the secret behind their all-butter homemade crusts, and their commitment to sustainability in each and every step of the pie-making process! 

What is the story behind Pie Junkie? 

“I [ Nancy Goemans ] had owned my own boutique marketing and design firm for 25+ years, specializing in the hospitality industry. Branding and building restaurants, food services, package design, cookbooks and food styling were my areas of expertise. My mother would always bake pies with my children, and when she passed away, my daughter Taya (who has Williams Syndrome), asked who would make pie with her. I told her I would and she told me she wanted to make pie for a living when she grew up. As her mom, I knew the challenges that would lie ahead for her and how difficult it can be for people with intellectual challenges to find meaningful and fulfilling employment. It got me thinking about building a place for my Taya. She loves people and making pie, so I researched it as I would if a client brought me the idea and it all took off from there!

I wanted to create a place where people could come to find delicious homemade sweet and savoury pies. A true “pie shop.” It seemed to me that a whole generation had missed out on what pastry and pie really tasted like. I knew pie, both savoury and sweet, from my parents. My dad was British and the maker of savoury pies in our home, and my mom was an Italian who made amazing sweet pies. Many of our pie recipes started from those humble roots. I think back now and realize that while the loss of my mom and my fear for my daughter’s future is what started the ball rolling, Pie Junkie quickly evolved into a true passion project for me.  

I was also fortunate enough to convince my dear friend Jo-Anne Caza to join me as my partner at the end of Pie Junkie’s first year. Jo-Anne came from the oil and gas world and knew business and finance. She is also an amazing baker, so the fit couldn’t have been better for our partnership. Pie Junkie would not be where we are today without Jo-Anne. We both come from different industries and approach things from the opposite sides of the brain, but our vision is the same: making artisan, all-butter pastry pie the way it is supposed to be made. With great pride and passion, we are indeed just a couple of pie junkies.”

What makes your pies so unique & special? 

“Pie Junkie is Calgary’s premier pie shop, making sweet and savoury pies the way your grandmother did — with love and pride. Our pies are made from scratch with an all-butter crust and homemade fillings. All of our pies are made by hand, the same way you’d make them at home – one at a time. We bake everything fresh each day and our fillings are made in small batches (without preservatives or fillers) to ensure that you get to enjoy nothing but the best! Everyone loves pie and we love providing Calgarians with delicious ready-made meal options that can offer a healthy alternative to the typical fast-food dinner, as well as tasty desserts for any occasion. We carefully curate our seasonal menus to offer a balance of traditional favourites and exciting new pie flavours. We also create specialty pies for weddings and other celebrations to help sweeten the day for our fellow pie lovers.

Pie Junkie is also committed to environmental sustainability and we have implemented a number of key practices to support this mandate. Every sweet pie we make utilizes reusable, biodegradable baking rings and compostable packaging in a conscious effort to reduce our environmental footprint.”

What prompted you to open your newest location in Crowfoot? 

“We currently have three stores in Kensington, Spruce Cliff and Mahogany, and the support and appreciation we’ve received from Calgarians over the past six years have been amazing. We’ve had a steady stream of requests to open a shop in the north and we’re thrilled to make that a reality with our fourth and largest location in Crowfoot Crossing, which opened on October 1, 2021.” 

How have you fared during the pandemic and how have you had to pivot? 

“Like any business, we have faced our share of pandemic-related challenges, but we have also been very fortunate to continue to receive wonderful support from the communities we serve. In response to the need for reduced contact over the past 17+ months, we had the opportunity to launch city-wide delivery and an e-commerce platform to make it even easier for Calgarians to order their favourite pies and treats from the comfort of home.

We also make individual-sized pies and hand pies that we saw grow in popularity as families and friends looked for new ways to enjoy holiday traditions while also staying safe, particularly around Christmastime when the city was experiencing a higher level of restrictions. For those who couldn’t come together to cook and enjoy meals at larger gatherings, we were able to offer a number of great scalable alternatives for friends and family to enjoy in smaller cohort groups or individual portion sizes.”

How has the community supported you? 

“We love being part of the Calgary community and hope to continue bringing pies to our fans here one neighbourhood at a time. At the Crowfoot store, we have received such wonderful support from our new north community — in ways we couldn’t have even anticipated. Their kindness and understanding as we’ve gotten our newest location up and running has been extraordinary and we are so grateful for their support. We have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome we have received at our new store and are so appreciative of the patience of our north customers as we’ve worked to keep up with demand. We never imagined we would be so busy so soon after opening and it is all thanks to the fantastic support of the community! Truly all of the Calgary communities in which we operate are phenomenal and we couldn’t be more thankful for their ongoing love and support.”

How would you define the Calgary community? 

“The community of Calgary is remarkable, and we count ourselves as very fortunate to be a part of it. We are all about family and that is what this city is about too. Pie brings people together. It creates and sustains traditions. It helps us to create memories and celebrate important moments. And what could define community more than that?”

So what’s next?

“We believe pie is for everyone and we hope to bring Pie Junkie to more communities across Canada as we continue to grow. For now, we are thrilled to be part of four vibrant Calgary communities and are proud to be bringing some of the best pie in town to our amazing city!”

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Calgary Citizen Staff


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