Marci Bennett started working in kitchens at age 14 and never looked back. During her 30 years in restaurants, she’s been a line cook, a sous chef, and a kitchen manager. It wasn’t until she and her husband Don moved to Long Beach that Marci decided to employ her baking skills as well.
Recovering from shoulder surgery, Marci set up shop at home. For years she worked out of her kitchen, until the ribbon was cut on her brick-and-mortar location in May 2021, when she officially became the Long Beach Pie Lady.
Marci works hard baking sweets alongside her husband, now retired from truck driving after years on the road. Don has a specialty of his own and can be found whipping up the delicious cinnamon rolls they sell.
Also on the menu are Marci’s best-selling pie flavors, including marionberry, Dutch caramel apple, strawberry rhubarb, key lime, and chocolate cream. And for those trying to resist, Marci bakes gluten-free and sugar-free pies that taste just as sweet.
We talked to Marci about her passion for baking and her experience in business. Here’s what she shared with us:
Why did you choose to start a business in Pacific County?
We moved from Vancouver WA when our kids were grown. We already had family here and decided it was time to move to the beach!
This was shortly after my shoulder surgery, when I was told I couldn’t work in a commercial environment again. But telling me not to cook is like telling me I can’t breathe air. So I ran the pie shop out of our house for a few years before finding a brick-and-mortar in Long Beach.
The short answer is: Who wouldn’t love to have a pie and cinnamon roll shop at the beach!
How did you come up with the name of your business?
The name was originally Simpli Edibles. It started out as a joke with a coworker, but in the back of my mind I thought I could do edibles if marijuana were ever legalized.
Later on, I wanted to change the name, but my marketer advised me not to do that at that time. Then she surprised me: I came to work one day and a sign was up that said “Long Beach Pie Lady.”
What was your mission when you started your business?
My goal is to make the best pies in Pacific County, offering gluten-free and sugar-free options at a fair price, using quality, locally-sourced ingredients.
How do you define success?
Some define it by money, others by customer appreciation and a job well done. We define it by both.
What is unique about your business?
We are the only pie and cinnamon roll shop in town. Additionally, we are the only ones who make several varieties of sugar-free pies.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The enjoyment of serving and talking to our customers and our community.
And working with my spouse, Don Bennett. He’s my husband, best friend, biggest fan, and co-conspirator! Without him, there would be no pie shop. He convinced me not to give up. Even early on, when I couldn’t sell 3 pies a week!
If you could do it all over again, is there anything you’d do differently?
Yes, I would have asked many more questions when designing my kitchen. As a baker, this is important!
If you had a piece of advice to offer someone starting a business in Pacific County, what would it be?
Know your competition, and ensure there is a need for your product or services.
And get to know your fellow business owners. They are your allies, networking buddies, support system, and neighbors.
We all want the same things, so be humble and know that there’s enough business for everybody.
For any aspiring business owner in Pacific County, here are a few key takeaways from Marci’s experience:
- If obstacles arise, don’t get discouraged–get creative
- Ensure there’s a need for what you intend to sell and fill a niche
- Surround yourself with people who build you up, even when sales are down
- Get to know other business owners. Be allies, not competitors.