She is opening in about 20 minutes.
A customer enters.
“Are you guys open now?”
“We are, but we’re still waiting on some handpies,” Bennetto O’Brien said.
“Do you have any cornish pasties?”
“No, but we will in about 20 minutes.”
“Alright, I’ll come back then,” replies the customer.
It’s just another day at the Handpie Company.
Bennetto O’Brien opened the new shop on March 20, which is located on Abegweit Boulevard in Gateway Village. The business used to be Scapes, which she opened in 2014 after raising more than $11,000 on Kickstarter.com
Scapes was a take-out restaurant that used ingredients locally sourced from P.E.I. farmers. It had a larger menu, but the top seller was always the handpies.
A handpie is a semicircle shaped pastry, typically filled with meat and veggies. The edges are crimped so to seal it shut.
Bennetto O’Brien refers to it as a personal and portable savoury pie.
“You can share, but you probably won’t want to,” she said.
The Handpie Company offers 12 varieties, such as free-range beef and mozzarella, organic chicken pot pie, and barbecue pulled pork. The three vegetarian options are: cheese and onion, currie chickpea, and roasted beet, corn and goat cheese.
Over the years, Bennetto O’Brien had Scapes renovated and installed a warming display so customers could enjoy a fresh handpie instantly rather than have to wait 10 minutes.
She decided to rebrand and shift the focus to handpie production in early January this year.
“I would call it a business evolution,” Bennetto O’Brien said. “Handpies were by far our biggest seller.”
Bennetto O’Brien is planning to expand sales on frozen handpies, as regular customers often stock up on them.
The P.E.I. Food Technology Centre is working on nutritional fact tables so Island retailers – some who are already interested – can sell her handpies.
Many travellers coming off the Confederation Bridge will stop by, because it’s a healthy alternative to what you normally find when driving along the highway, Bennetto O’Brien said.
“They just feel like it’s a very authentic first-taste of P.E.I.”
The summertime should bring many new customers, as Gateway Village fills with tourists. Starting June 1, the shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rather then their current 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule.
“We’re just hoping to become a regular part of people’s everyday lives,” Bennetto O’Brien said.