Shari Hamilton: Hello Good Pie

by | May 31, 2024

One of the main things I got out of Venturing Forth was learning that the stuff I didn’t like to do is the stuff I need to do.

I started my first business when I was 21 and sold it after 14 years. When I was thinking about opening a bakery, my first idea was a commercial kitchen. I would take my baked goods to farmers’ markets.

But I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work. I was a baker and a chef and that was my priority—the food on the plate. But, I had to figure out how to increase my profit margin if I was going to stay in business. Venturing Forth drove home the point that I needed to do the administrative work in order to have a successful business.

I found a fantastic location in Belgrade and changed direction. I wrote a business plan outline through Venturing Forth and that has helped me to grow and change. I had the foundation and vision already written down, so it was easy to let things evolve.

The class also helped me learn new skills, have confidence, and pay attention to important aspects of my business like getting a good accountant, managing my bank account, and networking with bankers and business groups.

I’ve experienced wonderful success and joy operating my bakery, Hello Good Pie. I’ve gotten to know my customers—my neighbors—by name so I know what they like or what would be a special pie for their birthday. I’ve watched families grow. I take care of a lot of older people as they age and provide food and delivery to people who can’t get out anymore. I have built long-term relationships with customers through many stages and milestones of life. I love being able to be profitable and steer my own destiny financially. I like working with young people and helping them develop. I really love food, too.

Before the pandemic, I bought a piece of property with the idea that I might expand. But I decided to keep my location. In September of 2023, I sold the business. It’s a good business–it’s profitable, in a great location and great community. I want the next generation to take it to the next level and I think it’s set up well for that. I am currently doing some private cheffing, and mostly taking time off to relax and enjoy family.

My advice to others would be to really look at your market to make sure your business is going to work. Follow your instincts, lean into your confidence, and cultivate calmness for making good decisions.

More Stories
Sally Lehtinen: Dreams Do Come True

My treasured vision was to see the Swiss Alps, which had been on my bucket list since I saw “The Sound of Music” when I was six years old. I vowed that I would go there one day. Miraculously, my dream came true! I traveled to Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Prague in May of 2023. My goal was to have $2,000 in spending money to go on my trip and I had over $3,000 in the bank.

read more
Craig Reimer: A Path to Success

I connected with New Ventures Maine and took the My Money Works class. I was able to fix my credit; I purchased a newer, safe, reliable minivan with the help of a Family Development Account, for which NVME walked me through the process; and, we found a nice house to rent that is perfect!

read more
Micah Smith: Trust the Process

When I think about how far we’ve come—we literally started from scratch 4 years ago—I can appreciate all of the steps it took to get here. I truly enjoy taking care of my customers and employees and that’s really important to me.

read more