COLUMBIA – More than a decade ago, Jeanne Plumley and her best friend, Peggy Day, used to run a pie shop called Peggy Jean's. It wasn't just a bakery – it was a destination.
The store sold handmade pies from scratch in traditional and 5-inch "baby" sizes until the doors on East Broadway closed in 2004. Average sales were 20-25 traditional pies and 80-100 baby pies a day.
"I had the most fun," Plumley, 60, said. "It was just her and I."
In 2005, Day died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Columbia lost both a creative cook and a popular shop.
Now, with daughter, Rebecca Miller, 38, Plumley hopes to reopen Peggy Jean's by Thanksgiving with donations from a campaign on Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site. The goal is to raise $10,000 by Nov. 4. At the time of publication, the campaign had raised $5,515 from 66 supporters.
The shop will keep the name Peggy Jean's.
"So many people remember us so why would we discard that name," Plumley said. "We had a good reputation in town."
Both hope to attract customers who believe in a quality dessert experience.
"Anyone can stop by a grocery store and pick up a pie, but a Peggy Jean's pie completely flips the script — homemade, fresh and never average," Miller said.
Lots of pie choices
The new Peggy Jean's will sell a variety of pie — apple, peach praline, peanut butter and the specialty, a chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
According to Plumley, the recipes are more than 100 years old. The pie crusts are known as flaky and tender, and Plumley and Miller said they are the only two who know the dough recipe.
"It took me three years to learn how to make a pie crust," Plumley said. Her mother taught her how to bake but didn't use any measurements.
"Sometimes, it would be so sticky you couldn't do anything with it or it would be so dry it'd come out in chunks," she said.
They're also thinking of selling pie kits and other kitchen merchandise, including a jar of dry ingredients, a ball of dough and instructions.
Within the first week of opening, they'll try to bake seasonal pies, including pumpkin. In warmer months, they they will offer peach, almond rum raspberry, coconut cream and chocolate cream pies.
"When we first opened Peggy Jean's, we hated lemon, so we wouldn't sell lemon pies," Plumley said. They soon found out that lemon meringue pie was a popular seller and eventually appeased their customers.
Mother and daughter are determined to finish what they set out to accomplish. With their good-natured humor, they have set bench marks and continue to move forward. They have scoped out a potential business site on Buttonwood Drive, near the Sonic Drive In.
"We bounce off each other well and there's good creativity," Miller said.
"We're both whacked," Plumley added. "It's a genetic thing in the family."
Building a blog
To bring more attention to the campaign, Miller has set up a blog to keep track of the shop's progress.
"The blog is a highlight for me," said Miller. "I almost had an asthma attack laughing at myself."
The hardest part of the whole ordeal has been Kickstarter. Miller discovered many people didn't understand it or know how to use it.
"People want to send you a check to your house," Miller said. "So, first you have to explain what it is and then try to get backers."
Plumley and her family moved to Columbia from southeast Missouri in 1978. To make new friends, she decided to attend church, something she had not done before.
She met Day and they became best friends. Day acted as a mom to her and a grandmother to Rebecca, Plumley said.
Both women had been working in mortgage banking and found they had two things in common — they wanted to work for themselves and they liked to bake. They came up with Peggy Jean's Pies and rented a small location off Business Loop 70.
It used to be so busy that they would sleep on the floor. Sometimes, they'd get to the shop at 3 a.m. and leave at 6 at night.
"We were spread out too much, but now we know what we did wrong," Plumley said.
Caring for Peggy
When Day became ill in 2001, Plumley took care of her and the pie shop.
"It just about broke me down," she said. "I felt guilty because I still had a business to run."
After she retired, she gave the idea to her daughter to reopen Peggy Jean's together. They finally decided to go ahead with the plan. The next day they found a realty agent and a location on Buttonwood Drive that fit their criteria.
"It's going to be industrial chic," Miller said. Their plans include staining the floors, leaving the ceilings exposed and bringing in lights from a barn lighting company.
Both said they are good at being self employed.
Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.