Pie Lady Slices New TerritoryAug 02, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner
I Love Pie founder Diana Shockley (with scissors) celebrates her Milagro Centre relocation with family and business partner Tierney Scalia. Bakeshop staffers and Carmichael Chamber of Commerce chums join the party.
CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) – Declared top dessert-maker by 2022 Best of Carmichael voters, Diana (Pie Lady) Shockley is crowning this success in a new location.
Her I Love Pie kitchen now fills an aromatic corner of the Milagro Centre, Carmichael. The move from Marconi Avenue premises coincides with a new partnership for the businesswoman.
Her former head pastry chef, Tierney Scalia now holds a stake in the brand. “We bounce ideas off each other,” approves Shockley. “It’s great to work with someone who cares as much about the business and its growth as I do. We cover for each other if we need time for family. Our strengths complement each other. When you combine Tierney’s creativity with my business background, it’s a recipe for success.
“We enjoy the open dining concept at Milagro. We love seeing our staff enjoying the location, too.”
The partners now lead a team that rises with the reliability of baking powder, dons frilly aprons and crams delectably filled pies into ovens. Business is brisk: thousands of pies after a 2019 launch, opening day at Milagro saw dozens of fragrant desserts boxed and transported to home tables. “It was a strong start,” considers the boss. “With the new location, we’re finding new customers to add to our frequent flyers.”
Raised in Corcoran (central Calif.), Pie Lady started out as pie girl. At her mom’s elbow, she observed baking from scratch.” Mom always let me have some dough so I could make tiny cookies in my Easy-Bake oven,” she recalls.
“I learned from mom (and later, at a Sacramento culinary school) not to take shortcuts. Baking is an art. I form each pie carefully. I use natural ingredients; no added sugars or preservatives. I sometimes talk to my pies. I tell them how pretty they are and how good they smell. I’m not crazy, I just love them.”
The petite dynamo honed business skills as project manager for Sutter Health in Sacramento. At weekends, she baked pies for farmers markets. “In my office job, I learned to be organized in managing timelines,” she explains. “Eventually I quit to focus on growing my pie business. Knowing the importance of due diligence helps with anything I plan.”
Shockley serves up twists on traditional. Her strawberry lemon basil pie was inspired by jam recipes. “Certain fruits go well with certain herbs,” she says. “Basil adds a crispness to berry flavors.”
Best-sellers include her salted-caramel Dutch apple pie, key lime with butter crust and the ever-pleasing banana cream. Shamelessly pampering sweet-toothers, she nevertheless accommodates savory taste. “As fall approaches, our quiches and pot pies will return,” she promises. “There really is a pie for everyone.” For the Shockley family, chocolate cream is hard to beat. Home support is critical: husband Justin runs the roost and co-manages the kids. Daughter Katelyn (14) is another helpmate. “I was brainstorming for a business name,” recalls mom. “Katelyn warned me not to get complicated. She came up with ‘I Love Pie’. So simple "' and it explains everything. She’s my little genius.”
In her second year of brand building, the entrepreneur found herself with another bun in the oven. “There’s never a perfect time to have a baby,” she considers. “But little Gwendolyn (1) was very much wanted. I worked until the day before she was delivered. Thankfully, I had no aversions to cooking smells and I was used to being on my feet all day.”
A toddler, a teenager and a growing company make for long workdays. “I manage the business side from home,” she says. “I don’t get tired. Each element of the job is fun. My husband usually cooks dinner. He encourages me to put my feet up. We share child care. There’s always one parent – or another adult relative "' with the baby.”
Daughters and dad joined celebrations for mom’s Milagro opening. “We’re all excited,” says the boss. “With this move, we look forward to adding new customers to our pie family and getting to know Milagro neighbors. Business is an adventure. There’s a silver lining in every challenge.
“My silver lining is in a pie tin.”
I Love Pie is located at the Milagro Centre, 6241 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Carmichael.