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'I can't believe it': Dogtown bakery overcomes pandemic challenges for record sales

Sugaree Baking Co. is seeing record sales for the second straight year, a feat made even sweeter given all of the supply chain issues

ST. LOUIS — The door at Sugaree Baking Company in Dogtown barely gets any rest on the day before Thanksgiving, and you can say the same for the staff as they package up a record number of pies this year.

"2,250; which is 300 over last year" owner Pat Rutherford-Pettine said, "this is bigger than last year, and I can't believe it."

Customers stand single-file around one side of the building, a line of cars wrapping around another corner.

Customer Mindy Bates walked up, surprised to see so many others already waiting.

"Well, I thought 'Oh my goodness,'" she said, initially confused but quickly taking her place in line.

Elliot Gion echoed Bates' initial reaction, saying "Oh my goodness, I guess this is the line we're gonna be in."

Daniel Feinstein called it "heartwarming" to see so many people supporting the small business, though adding "I felt bad for my sister that she had to stand in line, but at least it wasn't really cold out."

Bates said the wait is worth it, and Gion suspects some are willing to spend a little extra dough this year too.

"People are deciding well we're really gonna celebrate this year and have a great Thanksgiving," he said. "Maybe we'll spend a little bit more money this year because of it. It's like a beginning in a way."

Rutherford-Pettine said this is their second straight year with record sales. Last year, they prepared 1,900 pies, a feat made even sweeter given all of the supply chain issues that came up during the pandemic.

"I can't get enough pie tins. We were out of apples," she said, listing the issues they've overcome. "The prices have skyrocketed."

As customers walk away with bags of sweet treats, they're all thankful for the same things this year. Bates, Gion, and Feinstein each listing "family" as their top priority.

It's a sentiment Rutherford-Pettine shares, adding she's "so lucky" for her loyal customers too.

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