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On January 2, 1983, the musicalAnnie” was performed for the last time at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway after a run of six years and 2,377 performances.  The lyrics from the play’s theme song promised: “The sun will come out tomorrow,” and it certainly did that same year when Edgar and Gwendolyn Ramsey started a pie making company in their home while still maintaining their individual corporate careers.  Edgar handled marketing and distribution while Gwendolyn took care of the prep work and baking the pies.

From those humble beginnings Sweet Potato Pie, Inc. was born. Fast forward 33 years and today the company, a long-time NJBIA member, is now a 40-employee, family-owned and operated business, with a bakery at its Auburn Street location in Paterson that produces 20,000 desserts a day!  Their wholesale distribution network covers New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania; as well as New England, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, DC and they have future plans to expand throughout the United States.  Their customer base includes local shops, large grocery stores, restaurants and major fast-food chains.

Their offerings include pies and cakes – as well as sampler packages – with the sweet potato pie being their staple, which they refer to as the “Song of the South.” They combine fresh North Carolina sweet potatoes and spices in just the right way to create that old fashioned homemade flavor.  Besides sweet potato, they offer a great array of pies including: Chess Pie (a thick, custardy textured pie), Lemon Chess Pie, Peach Pie, Apple/Peach Pie, Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato Pecan Pie, Buttermilk Coconut Pie, Lemon Coconut Pie, Bean Pie (Navy Bean), Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Potpourri Pie (a medley of three great ingredients – chocolate, pecans and coconut).

They also have an impressive offerings  in their cake line, which includes: Pound Cake, Sweet Potato Pound Cake, Pumpkin Pound Cake, Carrot Layer Cake, Chocolate Chocolate Layer Cake (yes, there’s two chocolates in the name; not a typo), Red Velvet Layer Cake, Coconut Layer Cake, Caramel Cake and German Chocolate Cake

By the way, did you know that the sweet potato is one of the healthiest vegetables?  Facts from their website include the following:

  • One cup of cooked sweet potatoes provides 30mg (50,000 IU) of beta carotene (Vitamin A). It would take 23 cups of broccoli to provide the same amount. Sweet Potatoes have four times the US Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for beta-carotene
  • Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin E, and they are virtually fat-free, which makes them a real Vitamin E standout.  Most Vitamin E rich foods, such as vegetable oils, nuts and avocados, contain a hefty dose of fat.  Just two-thirds of a cup of sweet potatoes provides 100% of the USRDA for Vitamin E, without the unwanted fat.

If you want to know one of the main reasons for this family business’ success, just read Mr. Ramsey’s quote on their website: “It just doesn’t get any better than this!!”  That speaks to passion and enjoyment that goes to the heart of this business.  It’s an ingredient you may not formally find in one of their recipes, but it’s an essential one.

How long a run will Sweet Potato Pie, Inc. have, located just 15 minutes away from the bright lights and sounds of Broadway?  Well, they’ve already surpassedAnnie” by 27 years and show no signs of letting up.  So I guess the answer is a very long time and pardon the pun, that’s more than just a “pie in the sky” statement.

Sweet Potato Pie, Inc. is just one of 20,000 companies that comprise NJBIA’s membership, which is very diverse with representation from an amazingly wide spectrum of fields, industries and professions. Look for more unique stories about NJBIA members in future issues of “Beyond 10 West Lafayette,” NJBIA’s membership blog.