Pandemic pivot: Local hairdresser hangs up her scissors for pies and cakes

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Chastity Rodriguez-Hise in the future home of Pies and Cakes. (Mike Platania photos)

A bakery is picking up where another left off in Carver after a local entrepreneur decided to swap scissors for spatulas.

Longtime local hairstylist Chastity Rodriguez-Hise prepares to open Pies and Cakes Bakery at 701 W. Clay St.

The space near the intersection of West Clay and North Belvidere streets is the former home of the Nutty Buttery, which had a two-year run there from 2019.

Rodriguez-Hise said, as the name of her new spot suggests, she aims to keep the new bakery simple in her offerings.

“I’ll take cakes, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, pies. All dessert oriented. I don’t make pastries or croissants. It’s not French bakery, it’s party stuff,” she said. “Simplicity is definitely a theme. I feel like it’s easy to lose focus and do too much. I want to focus on what I do well.

Rodriguez-Hise had been a hairstylist in Richmond for more than 20 years when the pandemic arrived and forced her salon to close. The lifelong home baker then decided to put her energy into what had been a small business she had built next to her house: selling her baked goods to friends, family and others. who found it by word of mouth.

“I stepped up the baking and was earning enough from my baked goods to pay my rent at the salon. Then I thought maybe that was the direction I should go,” Rodriguez-Hise said.

Although she had been her own boss for years as a stylist, she had reservations about pursuing baking full-time.

The space had housed Nutty Buttery for about two years.

“I was not ready to give up a career of more than 20 years. It took me a little while to really figure out how to make the switch,” Rodriguez-Hise said.

“But it’s one of those things that happened. How often do you get the chance to do something you really love doing and making people happy? It’s an underlying thing is that I like to see people eat the things that I cook. It makes me so happy.”

She found the space in Carver with the help of Michele Jones, the local restaurateur behind the former Pasture and Comfort spots, who happened to be a longtime client and friend of the salon. Rodriguez-Hise rented the 1,200 square foot storefront in March.

Aside from an occasional special, Rodriguez-Hise said the only stray from the bakery will be courtesy of her husband, Russell, who runs local appliance repair business RVA Repairs but has his own side gig. .

“My husband’s passion project is sourdough pizza, so he’ll be making pizza pop-ups a few times a month,” she said.

Keeping with the theme of simplicity, Rodriguez-Hise said the bakery will serve coffee from Brewer’s Cafe but won’t have a full espresso menu.

She said they were aiming for a July opening. Until then, she and Russell will prepare the space to accommodate his not fully planned career change.

“It really started out as something I’ve always enjoyed doing. Sometimes those passions and loves turn into something profitable, which is always nice,” Rodriguez-Hise said with a laugh.

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