BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Making a pie is a lot of work and takes a certain level of skill. But one South Mississippi woman is making it easy for even the least experienced bakers to create beautiful homemade desserts.
Not only is she doing it on a national level, but she’s also overcoming stereotypes and statistics to do it.
Annie Beck’s story begins as a small girl growing up in her grandmother’s kitchen.
Being a minority female raised in rural Mississippi brought its own set of challenges; being a single mother to her two children brought even more. But Beck overcame those obstacles and is now watching her dreams come true.
Hoping to share her passion for family and food, Beck wanted to make sure everyone could make beautiful, homemade desserts that could be enjoyed with dinner guests for a special occasion or as an after-dinner treat shared among family and friends.
So she opened her first business - a small cafe - in Hattiesburg.
“We started off baking those fully-baked pies at the Coca Cola facility there in Hattiesburg, Mississippi,” she said. “They had a commercial kitchen available and they allowed us to come in and gave us the opportunity.”
That was seven years ago. Now, she has relocated to Biloxi, where she has a production facility churning out sweet treats that are sent to grocery stores around the country.
“We are presently in almost 3,000 grocery stores nationwide,” said Beck. “We service Rouse’s grocery stores. We will also be picking up Kroger grocery stores, 800 locations coming this spring.”
You can also find Beck’s products at corner markets. But most astonishing of all to the baker is that her food is now sold in Walmart, a place she worked for almost 20 years.
“To walk up to those individuals and present my product to them, it was absolutely surreal,” said Beck. “I cried a lot.”
So what exactly is Beck selling? It’s a simple concept: Beck’s Confections uses fresh ingredients to take the hard work out of baking, creating delicious pie fillings and purees.
Beck’s carries egg custard pie, sweet potato pie, pecan pie, and a lemon pineapple cream cheese pie. They also sell sweet potato puree and sweet potato patties, a strawberry puree, and a special seasoning blend.
It’s a simple, straightforward process that can turn anyone into a baker. Just scoop, spread, and pop it in the oven. When the timer goes off, take it out and enjoy an amazing homemade dessert.
As her business continues to grow, Beck is quick to give all of the thanks to God and her own two sweetest gifts, her children Kessler and Corbin.
“Everything from picking strawberries to washing strawberries and just helping Mom out making deliveries,” she said. “The whole shabang, they have been a part of it. I’m trying to build a legacy for them so they’ll have something they are proud to be a part of.”
Her son Corbin said she may have been inspired by her children but his mom has been a go-getter since before he was born.
“She’s really independent,” said Corbin. " She’s been this way since before I even came into the picture."
And she doesn’t show any sign of slowing. Beck currently employs six people at her Biloxi location and is preparing to expand into a new facility. Once that move is made, Beck is looking to double her staff. Depending on future demand, she may even have to expand and hire even more people.