It was while attending a wedding a decade ago that Kirsten Fuchs decided to completely change her life.
“I was sitting at a table next to this doctor,” Fuchs said. “He said to me, ‘If you ever get a chance when you turn 50 to change your career, do it.’ And he told me about how he went back to school and switched medical fields in his late 40s.”
What the doctor said stuck in the back of Fuchs’s mind. And when she finally turned 50, she had one thought bouncing around her head—now what?
“I felt like the clock was ticking for the next chapter of my life. And then one day, I was driving around South Asheville with my daughter, and she said wanted a piece of pie and a cup of coffee,” Fuchs smiled. “I told her there really was nowhere to get that around here. So, that thought sort of stuck with me for a little while. Then, I wondered if I opened a pie shop, would people be as excited as I would be for it?”
In April 2017, Fuchs took the plunge and opened the Baked Pie Company in Arden. The shop was an immediate hit, leading to a second location in North Asheville.
“I don’t have any restaurant experience, but I’ve always loved baking,” Fuchs said. “I do have a background in managing companies and in marketing. So, I figured if I hired the right people to be bakers and work the counter, then maybe we could be successful.”
Featuring made-from-scratch pie crusts and fillings, Fuchs aims to preserve and perpetuate the long-held traditions of baking. These skills used to be passed down between generations, but are rapidly disappearing in the modern era.
“These skills and foods will be gone soon if nobody keeps the traditions alive,” Fuchs said. “For people like myself, you have these vivid memories of being a kid and being in the kitchen. I remember being in my great aunt’s kitchen, just watching her and her sisters bake all these wonderful creations. We’d be sitting there, learning how they did it. And we would help out when we could.”
When one enters either location of the Baked Pie Company, the décor is meant to be cozy. The goal is to feel as if you are walking back in time, maybe even back into that ancestral kitchen of your youth.
“I want it to feel like you’re going home to your grandmother’s house. The first thing people do when they come in is smell the pies. Then, they look around and see all the things on the wall,” Fuchs said. “We want our customers to come in, get a slice of pie, get a cup of coffee or read a book, maybe hang out all day. It’s meant to be your neighborhood spot.”
With an emphasis on customer service, Fuchs wants people to really understand what Southern hospitality is all about.
“We keep a list of everybody’s name who comes in and is a regular,” Fuchs said. “We want to remember them and what they like, and what we could suggest for them to try.”
On those days when there’s a packed house awaiting her pies, Fuchs thinks back to that moment when she decided to finally take the leap and create her business.
“It’s bigger than I thought it would be. But, what you can imagine, you can create,” Fuchs said. “I never imagined there would a line out the door of our shops on the weekends, but there is—and it’s all for a piece of pie.”
This post is adapted from our annual Welcome to Western North Carolina magazine. Click here to read more online, or click here to order your own free copy.