When Chiavanni Le’mon and her husband Rene Hand opened their pie shop last month, they were overwhelmed with pie-hungry customers.
Le’mon remembers opening the shop by herself on Sunday, unprepared for the crowds of people wanting to get their hands on some yummy treats.
“I had 10 coffee orders!’ she says. “My daughter Revas came in too but it was just me in the shop when it got quite busy.”
Le’mon says her 9-year-old daughter had been sitting in the shop eating pie and said ‘are you okay mum?’
“So I asked her to jump behind the counter and distribute the change and I would tell her how much to give.”
Ka Pie began in 2015 where it started off as a wholesale business for selling pies in various outlets.
Now in their fifth year of business, they have had their shop open for four weeks now and just had their sign installed last week.
She said the customers really enjoyed her daughter’s excellent customer service and the same customers came back on Monday wondering where the delightful Revas had gone.
“‘Where is Revas?’ they said, and I would say ‘I’m sorry she’s at school today’.”
Later on, Le’mon told her daughter about that and she was pretty excited to help out on another Sunday.
She says: “It’s great that our kids are excited about the business that we are building for them.”
Baking pies has been a Hand family tradition going back 20 years. Le’mon’s family decided to come back to live in Rarotonga for their kids so they could experience a Cooks upbringing.
“The Cook Islands childhood is a rich one so it’s fortunate we have been able to establish a business here.”
They are thankful for the support from the community, she adds.
One challenge has been finding staff, but they are very lucky to have two of the best local baristas on the island, Moke Rakei and Nicole Kairau.
Le’mon and her husband, along with two staff bakers, start the day at 4am in the kitchen. They open at 6.30am.
“Our biggest challenge at the moment is trying to stay open past 1pm – our pies sell out around 12pm and on our first open day we sold out at 10.30am!”
The young Hand family look forward to having a grand opening ceremony soon.