(p. 1A) Judith Larsen turned her American dream into a small-town Nebraska reality with her Village PieMaker business, and the operation has gone cosmopolitan under a big-name owner.
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Larsen’s is the story of entrepreneurship and diligence. It’s also a story of what happens when great success blossoms from small beginnings.
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(p. 2A) Larsen learned how to make pies from her grandmother in Nebraska’s Sand Hills and got good enough to clear out a spare bedroom and build a pie kitchen in Sumner, Nebraska.
She bartered with pies and sold them. One time she used pie to hire a man to drag an upright piano from the basement. “I learned that you could get a man to do just about anything if you offered him a pie,” she said.
Then it was on to the village of Eustis, population 401, where in 2003 she rented an old creamery for her business. Sales took off. She named it the Village PieMaker, saying every place has its village drunk and village idiot, and she would be its piemaker. “No canned stuff” became the company’s motto.
She sought to produce pies that tasted homemade and looked homemade. “I wanted a product that people could be proud of because making a pie is a dying art,” she said.
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“In the early days, I worked 80 hours a week in that shop,” she said. “In the beginning, I would do every job that everybody else would do.”
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She has started a small business in which she uses a “longarm sewing machine” to assemble quilts. “I’m an entrepreneur and I’m also somebody who can’t sit still,” she said.
Who knows? Maybe her new business will do fairly well.
For the full story, see:
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 23, 2020, and has the title “Founder says she’s sad for workers after Joe Ricketts closes pie-making facility in Eustis.”)