Pictured from left are Matt Largen, Jill Burgin, Paige Thompson, Jeanie Collier, Carlie Thompson, Sarah Collier, Chadwick Collier, Gary Collier, Regina Smithson, Randi Mallory, Ken Travis
BY LANDON WOODROOF
Chadwick Collier was in the insurance business before a slice of his family’s history showed him the way to a new future.
His father, Gary, better known as Papa C, had learned to make apple pie as a child based on a recipe from Grandma Elsie. Everyone agreed that the pies he made were delicious, so the family decided to try and turn the culinary craft into a living.
On Monday afternoon, nearly eight years after Papa C’s Pies was formed, that plan came to new fruition with the grand opening of the store’s location near Costco at 99 Seaboard Lane in Brentwood. The business had bounced around several different places over the years, but the family is thrilled to finally have a storefront in their own hometown.
“We’re glad that were able to stay in Brentwood and be a part of the community that we love,” Chadwick, who grew up in Brentwood, said.
As Collier described it, running a family-owned business has not always been easy, but it has always been worthwhile.
“There’s a lot of challenges and a lot of roadblocks,” he said. “Every time we hit one, we got through. Something showed us the right way. We are truly blessed and the good Lord has been great to us.”
Willamson Inc. CEO and President Matt Largen was at the grand opening and said that following Papa C’s Pies’ progress over the past few years has taught him a lot about what it takes to run a small business. He lauded Chadwick and his family for their example as local entrepreneurs.
“It’s just amazing what this family has done the last couple of years in terms of the expansion of their business, and what it has done for our community,” he said.
Also on hand at the event were Brentwood Commissioner Ken Travis, Vice Mayor Jill Burgin and Mayor Regina Smithson.
“You know, Brentwood always welcomes businesses but especially mom and pop businesses that really get involved in the community,” Smithson said.
She also joked that she hoped the Collier family would keep an eye out in case their wares proved to be too tempting to a certain member of Smithson’s family.
“I am so excited about this, but I was telling someone the bad thing is my husband’s office is like two blocks from here so if you see him in here a lot, run him out,” she said.
Hard work and perseverance surely have a lot to do with a business’s success, but, of course, the bottom line at a pie store is that the pie has to be good for the business to work. At one point during the celebration Papa C himself, Chadwick’s dad, Gary, took the floor and shared his thoughts on the food at the center of his family’s enterprise.
“I just think it’s important for you all to know that none of our products come out of a manufacturer’s box,” he said. “We do everything from scratch. It’s not pre-processed. That’s why it tastes so good. We don’t use any artificial flavorings or anything like that. It’s just good old-fashioned food.”
More information about Papa C’s, including business hours and details on ordering by mail, are available on the business’s website.