This article was written by TaMayrn Waters with the Tallahassee Democrat
Sally Bradshaw knows the pleasure of a sweet treat and a good read.
Soon Midtown Reader will be slicing something new for its customers — the Piebrary. The new venture will sell pies by the slice, all within reach at the independent bookstore on Thomasville Road.
"One of the things we've learned as a bookstore is that we're not just selling books," said Bradshaw, Midtown Reader's owner. "We're providing an experience."
That experience is golden; sharing ideas and reflections with fellow book lovers, enjoying programs and events featuring little known and famed authors and finding your happy place in a bevy of books.
Midtown Reader is following a growing trend for independent book stores who are bringing coffee and beverages under their roofs.
"I love the idea of pie by the slice, which is something I don't think we've really seen in Tallahassee so far, at least not at the level we'll be offering it." said Bradshaw, who stumbled on the concept while visiting other bookstores throughout the country.
The Piebrary is slated to open Feb. 12 and will occupy space used by Argonaut Coffee, which is relocating after its lease expired last month and the coffee shop outgrew it.
Piebrary — a fun play "pie" and "library" — is a partnership between Midtown Reader and TC Bakery, another woman-owned business that's making a small but mighty mark in Midtown and beyond.
Two weeks ago, the Black-owned bakery moved from its Crawfordville Road Highway location to a larger space in Tallahassee to accommodate a growing retail demand.
TC Bakery owner Jennifer Young said Bradshaw reached out to her after residents responded to the bookstore's crowd-sourcing call for bakery suggestions in the Tallahassee Foodies group on Facebook. Young's bakery kept coming up.
They met, and Young provided a tasting. Bradshaw said the bakery's sampling was delicious and too good to pass on.
Young loved the concept; pies and books. She said pecan and sweet potato pie will be the stables. The first pop-up slice will be apple pie and, once a month, a new flavor will rotate in.
Midtown Reader partnership is the latest example of how the bakery is getting its name and product before more customers. The bakery's tiramisu and red velvet cheesecakes are already available at Red Eye Coffee, a stone's throw away from Midtown Reader.
"I love women-owned businesses and so a lot of those women I look up to," Young said. "To be able to partner with them, it's really just the icing on the cake."
In addition, TC Bakery is selling its products in Piggly Wiggly and Fresh 4 Less grocery markets. Young, delighted by the customer response to her products considering she's been baking most of her life, said she "prays about everything."
When it comes to taking on new projects, she said if doesn't feel right, she won't do it.
"These all feel right," Young said.
Bradshaw echoes Young's enthusiasm. With Midtown Reader now seven years in business and TC Bakery's three years under its belt, both businesses are making their respective marks in the capital city and showing the power of partnerships.
"We're very passionate about being small business owners and bringing something new to Tallahassee, and I think we're going to be a great team," Bradshaw said.
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