Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit started in 2005 as an artisan, e-commerce company. This was rare at the time so it started off slow, but founder Carrie Morey was perfectly fine with this. She had three small children, and it was what she wanted to handle to keep family first.
As her kids began to grow older, the business steadily grew as well. In 2011, after five years of strategizing and creative thinking, Callie’s expanded into a new building and a small team was established. For a specialty food, mail-order business, things were booming!
Then they moved into wholesale, began shipping to 200-300 grocery stores, and Carrie went on tour for her cookbook in 2013. During the tour, fans asked how they could get Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits served hot. Carrie started pitching the idea to restaurants, but after a while, she chose to take matters into her own hands and opened up her first eatery in 2014. It was a success, and she now has four locations and a catering division in Charleston, SC (2 locations), Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC.
Fast Forward to 2020
We wanted to catch up with Carrie to see how Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, a growing brand fulfilling 4 eateries, e-commerce and wholesale orders, is faring in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using no machinery, all biscuits are handmade by a small team of artisan bakers, so how did they make it work at a time of social distancing? No one has had to experience this, but Carrie and her team are taking it week by week.
As an entrepreneur, you always need to be able to pivot. I sort of feel like I’ve been practicing pivoting my entire career, and now with this pandemic is game time! It’s survival of the best “pivitor” and there’s no time like the present to practice what you preach to stay afloat!Carrie Morey, Owner & Founder of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
Carrie is responsible for over 80 employees, and for their safety, she decided to shut down the eateries. Even though roadside delivery was approved, she wanted to pause and restructure the business to keep them afloat at an uncertain time. After proper preparation, Carrie decided to open the eateries only on Saturdays and Sundays.
“We were able to keep our manufacturing facilities open the entire time, but we only have eight people in a 3,500-square-foot building. They have their temperatures checked before coming in, and we follow strenuous precautions,” said Carrie. “If one person gets sick, we have to shut it all down. It’s intense.”
The team at the facility stays busy, baking and shipping orders for the eateries, wholesale, and online, but Carrie wanted to find a way to take care of those she had to let go. Their existing food truck – “Butter” – has been repurposed to bring in proceeds for the employees that were laid off by selling bakers’ dozens at a “donated – pay what you think is right” price.
Once the eateries were shut down, the business pivoted and a new “Marketplace” category was added to the online store. Items that were typically exclusive to the eateries could now be ordered and shipped directly to consumers’ doors. This includes sandwich-sized biscuits, cinnamon butter jars, slabs of bacon and more.
It’s a win-win. Carrie’s strategy was to reduce waste, sell these items at a lower price and continue to bring in sales. Every day, the team is posting new product availability and directions for ordering on Instagram.
As the leader of the brand, Carrie had to make tough calls, both personally and professionally, but she was concerned for the well-being of her staff and knows they’ll be back soon.
“Lessen interactions with people. Stay home and cook. Stay strong!”Carrie
As for marketing to the Callie’s fans, Carrie didn’t want to “push” sales, but they are offering new product options and providing demos to show people how to cook her products and others from home.
By sharing and doing what’s best for everyone’s health, she has faith that Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit will be rewarded positively in the near future.