Amanda Wilbanks likes to make things from scratch.
That’s what she does with her pies, and that’s what she did with her business.
“I always had that entrepreneurial spirit,” Wilbanks said, adding she didn’t know a pie would inspire her to open her own business.
Wilbanks owns and runs Southern Baked Pie Co., formerly known as Buttermilk Pie Co., at 302 Broad St. SE, Suite C, in Gainesville.
The name change came from a transformation within the company itself. When she first started, Wilbanks sold only a few signature pies, including buttermilk, apple, caramel pecan, chocolate chess and French coconut custard. All of them were sweet.
In fact, her caramel pecan pie won the grand prize in the University of Georgia’s 2016 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest. She also won first place in the confections category.
A team of food industry experts and grocery buyers chose Wilbanks’ caramel pecan pie as the best of 33 finalists, according to a news release from Georgia Department of Agriculture. They rated the products on qualities including innovation, use of Georgia theme, market potential and flavor.
Wilbanks’ business is not limited to sweet pies, though. Now she sells savory fare as well. Her additions to her regular menu are a taco pie, a tomato pie and a chicken pot pie, along with other seasonal flavors.
“We have about 25 flavors now,” the Gainesville resident said.
Wilbanks didn’t feel like the old name fit the refurbished company.
“It used to fit better,” she said. “The new name aligns better with the products we now sell.”
Not only does the company have a new name, but Southern Baked is expanding into another city.
Wilbanks plans to open a new location on Peachtree Street in Buckhead in the summer.
“We are focused on growing the company now,” Wilbanks said.
New products also are on the horizon. The company is working with recipes for pie-flavored shakes. It’s still in the beginning stages, but Wilbanks hopes to launch the shakes in the summer.
Being the owner of a small business is not new to Wilbanks. She grew up watching her parents own and run Gene’s Refrigeration Heating & Air Services and was prepared for everything that comes with being an entrepreneur.
“I always wanted to own my own company,” the 28-year-old said.
But the 2009 University of Georgia Terry College of Business graduate didn’t use her marketing degree until August 2013 when she opened her storefront. Before then, Wilbanks made pies in her kitchen for family or gave them as gifts.
Then people started asking her to make pies for them to give as gifts. And orders started piling up.
The problem was she could only make a few pies at a time in her too small kitchen. Therefore, in a span of a few months, she went from having one oven to three.
But that still wasn’t enough. She sent out about 500 pies from her home, while offering shipping everywhere in the nation.
Finally, she launched the now Southern Baked Pie Co. and continues her tradition of making the pies from scratch. She serves her customers in-house as well as sending pies through the mail.
But most of all, Wilbanks maintains the highest quality of her pies in taste and look, since many are presents.
“We make sure they’re just as pretty as they taste,” she said.
For more information, visit www.buttermilkpieco.bigcartel.com or call 706-499-5234.