Sometimes it takes that metaphorical kick to propel people into pursuing their dreams. Such was the case with Robyn Larocque, the owner of Victoria Pie Co. In 2012, she was a “highly disillusioned” public servant, working on a part-time MBA, when a diagnosis of cervical cancer threw her life into sharp perspective.
“In the end, it was not a big deal medically, but it was a year and a half of not having any idea of how bad it was or how bad it could be,” Larocque says. “It was absolutely very influential in every decision that I made.”
She knew she wanted to be part of the entrepreneurial community and to do something meaningful with her life. Focusing on her two passions, food and food security, she had an epiphany.
“How better to improve food security on Vancouver Island than to make beautiful, from-scratch pies from the bruised and battered fruit, berries, veggies and meat left over from the farmers at the close of the market?” she says.
One of the original businesses in the Victoria Public Market, the Victoria Pie Co. makes all of their pies 100 per cent from scratch, from the cream sauces to the hand-pressed butter and olive oil crusts.
And Larocque is now looking at possible locations in Vancouver and Calgary, which would use co-operative ownership models, so that staff have a stake in the company’s success.
“Someday we will be so proud to say we’re a Vancouver Island business, born
Q&A with Robyn Larocque of Victoria Pie Co.
When did you know this was going to work?
You don’t ever decide, “Well, it works.” You just decide, “Today, we’re doing it.” You check in every day. I don’t think — certainly not in this industry — that you can ever relax and say, “We did it.”
How far ahead do you let yourself look?
Right now, we’ve got a six-year plan. We will be opening our second location this fall and then we’re intending on opening another location every two years.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I’ve definitely learned this about being an entrepreneur: if you want 100 per cent of your questions answered, you’ll miss the window. It’s a balance between being really well-researched and knowledgeable and just taking the plunge.
Victoria Pie Co. Business Profile
Type of business: Pie bakery
Year founded: 2013
Owner/principal: Robyn Larocque
What are you most proud of? My staff. They’re phenomenal. What would I do without these people? They’re so dedicated to the product and so dedicated to their jobs and to the future of Victoria Pie Co. as we expand. They’re just such a great group of people.
This article is from the April/May 2015 issue of Douglas.