It started almost 20 years ago as a retail store…we had just bought our building…and had a little tiny space…it was supposed to be a weekend gig and we would see where it went…and it went.

Alan Nugent

Owner/Operator, Stockholm Pie and General Store

Today we headed up the River Road to chat with Alan Nugent of Stockholm Pie and General Store, we talked about pie, pie, and more pie. We talk about the origins of the stores, what makes their pies so special, new menu items and shipping nationwide, we even find out that you can enter to win a “Year of Pie” shipped directly to your door.

Special thanks to our Podcast Sponsors!

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Transcript

Amy Gabay 00:00
This podcast is brought to you by People’s Food Co Op, a community owned grocery store in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota that promotes local farmers and producers through an emphasis on fresh, healthy, sustainable food. Anyone can shop, everyone is welcome. For more information, visit them online at PFC.coop. This podcast is also brought to you by Trempealeau County Tourism. Whether your idea of fun is bicycling, hiking or canoeing, afterwards head into the heart of one of their welcoming communities to experience historic architecture, independent shops and locally owned dining establishments. Visit Trempealeau County Tourism online. Artspire is back with a full weekend of art at the Pump House Regional Arts Center. Enjoy live music from Cloud Cult, Bill Miller and B2wins, plus a fine art fair, interactive art projects, and visual and performing arts June 10th through 11th. Learn more at artspire@thepumphouse.org. Today we headed up the river road to chat with Alan Nugent, Stockholm Pie and General Store. We talk about pie, pie and more pies. We talked about the origins of the stores, what makes their pies so special, new menu items and shipping nationwide. We even find out that you can enter to win a year of pie shipped directly to your door. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy.

Brent Hanifl 01:30
And I’m Brent.

Amy Gabay 01:31
And this is La Crosse Local.

Alan Nugent 01:33
My name is Alan Nugent. I was born in Denver, Colorado, grew up in the mountains of Colorado in Estes Park, Colorado. And what brought me to food. Boy, I always worked in the food industry as a kid and growing up and in hotels and restaurants and always something I was really interested in, and then it just kind of circled back in life later on.

Brent Hanifl 01:57
We just recently got to visit Stockholm Pie and General Store, you know, and it’s just kind of a, it’s a great store located on the Mississippi River. How did something like that get it start?

Alan Nugent 02:07
Well, it started, oh boy, almost 20 years ago, back in 2004. So 18 years ago, as a retail store. At that time, I was an interior designer for a big firm in the Twin Cities. And we had a weekend home in Stockholm and thought this would be really fun to be down here. And I found out that we couldn’t stand not being there. So we opened our first retail store in Stockholm, a boat gallery. And things have just progressed from then. We found that we loved the vibe of Stockholm, the artistic nature of Stockholm. And we just keep creating new things and seeing what happens.

Brent Hanifl 02:44
So how did the pies like come into the mix from the you know, the origin there to that?

Alan Nugent 02:48
So it’s interesting. My sister Janet, as we lovingly refer to her as her highness, came to visit us from Chicago. She’s a few years older than I am. So we didn’t really grow up around her. But she came to visit. And I don’t know, maybe three months later, she had moved to the Stockholm, Pepin area, same disease that hit us, couldn’t stand not being there, fell madly in love with it. Loved the vibe of the community, to the visuals of the community. Everything about it. So one night, we went over to her house for dinner. And she made apple dumplings. I had never had her dumplings or her pie or anything at that point. We tasted that and kind of jokingly said, you know, we could sell these things. They’re really good. And we had just bought our building in Stockholm and had a little tiny space. We’re talking about 400 square feet or so in our building. And I thought, why not? Let’s give this a shot. It was supposed to be a little weekend gig for my sister who was a nurse also. And we’d see where it went, and it went.

Brent Hanifl 03:56
Just visiting you a couple of months ago, I mean, being in that small little community. It seemed like you had people coming from all over the area. Like you said, Chicago, Minneapolis, driving to this little store, in a little town. What is the reason, what makes the pie so special?

Alan Nugent 04:11
There’s a bunch of stuff that makes it special. Part of it, Stockholm, it’s so charming. It’s so beautiful. But what makes Stockholm Pie so special is the fact that it is so very, very real. It’s done the old fashioned way. There’s not a mix, there’s not a machine. Everything’s done by hand. It’s all real food, real fruit. It’s kind of like grandma used to make. It’s nostalgic. It’s incredibly good on top of it. Our crust is what’s made us famous. It was recognized early on by Road Food Guide and Gourmet Magazine and Splendid Table that our crust was something special and is made exactly the same way today as it was when we opened in 2008.

Brent Hanifl 04:53
Also, you know you have various stores, different shops. You have one in Stockholm, of course, which I believe is the original, and you also have Red Wing, Minnesota. Can you tell us about those a little?

Alan Nugent 05:03
Well, sure Stockholm is, as we lovingly refer to the mothership, is where everything comes from. All the pies are made in Stockholm. And they go up to our Redwing location, which we opened about four years ago. And it’s in the really beautiful building, the old historic pottery place building in Redwing, on Northwest Maine. So, it’s a second outlet for us, for the pies. It’s also a full blown cafe, as is our location in Stockholm, and has a version of the general store there, also. So we kind of took what we did, and transplanted it 20 miles up river. And so far, so good.

Brent Hanifl 05:39
I know why you’d want to be in those small little communities. It’s a short drive from La Crosse, what made you pick Redwing?

Alan Nugent 05:46
One location, it was easy for us to manage that distance. And two, it has the same vibe as Stockholm, very artistic, truly beautiful. And we had a ton of fans from Redwing that would come on a regular basis to Stockholm. And so we thought this might be a good place. We were not willing or able to, you know, make a big jump to the Twin Cities. We’re honestly, you know, between the Twin Cities, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Rochester. That’s probably 80% of the people we see walk in our doors every day, it is a major destination. And we thought Redwing could just help us add access to the pies.

Brent Hanifl 06:25
Also, you know, you’re talking about access, you know, we’re going to discuss it here in a minute, but you also ship your pies nationwide. But before we get to that, is there any like special pies that are coming down the line or anything you can announce that’s happening, anything new?

Alan Nugent 06:38
So there’s always new things that we’re working on. Every month, there is the pie of the month. This month, it is the Buttermilk Chocolate Chip. So it’s kind of like a giant cookie but in our world famous pie crust, and you heat that up a bit. And it’s served with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. It’s crazy. So every month, we have something that you will only find that month of the year. So last month was an amazing pie. We had a special pie for Mother’s Day that is just for Mother’s Day. We’ve had our Canadian Maple pie, which is like pancakes, smothered and maple syrup in a pie crust, that’s one of my favorite. But there’s all kinds of special pies come up. We’re always tweaking and playing with things too. So you never know what’s gonna pop up on the menu. When you show up, it could be something completely different that’s never been there before.

Brent Hanifl 07:29
You kind of talk about you know who’s coming into your store. But now also you have, you can ship these pies nationwide. So it’s not just a local area, people from anywhere in the nation to get these pies?

Alan Nugent 07:40
We have recently got everything set up to start shipping pies nationwide. And it took a lot of work, a lot of experimenting to figure out how to ship those best, what pies ship. Because not all pies will ship, trust me, we’re not going to ship out a cream, that’s just not a good idea. But there are a good number of our pies that we know ship well and arrived beautifully. And then of course with the same system for ordering on the shipping. We’ve also made it really easy for people to pre order pies to pick up. Because if you want a whole pie in the store, either Redwing or Stockholm, it is absolutely the best idea to pre order that pie because the demand far outweighs our ability to make enough whole pies. So if you want a pie, you should head over to our website at stockholmpie.com. You can order for pickup or you can order for shipping nationwide.

Brent Hanifl 08:35
Also, you know this year, it looks like you’re kind of celebrating your history, having been around for so long. But also, you know, the shipping program that’s going on, you’re also going to give away a year of pie through sweepstakes. That’s pretty exciting.

Alan Nugent 08:48
It is really exciting. So we’ve been trying to figure out the best way to ship pies for a while now. And once we got it down, we really wanted to celebrate that and celebrate almost 20 years of pie making and becoming such a beloved place. It’s nothing we ever expected. But so to celebrate that, yeah, we’re doing that one year of pie. So you can go to our website and you can sign up and enter the contest to win a pie every other month for a year. And you can either come pick it up in either location, or we will ship it to you anywhere in the country. So kind of cool.

Brent Hanifl 09:23
Yeah, I mean, especially if you’re not in the area, you could be across the country and start getting these pies. Another thing I just noticed about it is that I always thought of pies as being something for around the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Really you got to think about the picnics you go on during the summer. Also the ones I remember being there you had those little pies too, so you don’t need like the big ones or anything like that as well?

Alan Nugent 09:29
That’s right. So we have you know, the whole pies that you want a special order, But you walk in and we’ll have a huge selection of our little six inch pies, typically three to five different flavors going on there. And our pie cookies have been something that has created quite a following. They are incredible. They are our famous pie crust filled with the, you know, could be Nutella or raspberry or strawberry or a bunch of different things. They are incredible way to get a couple of Bite Size experience of the pie. And then there’s all the savory pies too. We do all kinds of pie stuff. There’s pot pies and quiches and all that too.

Brent Hanifl 10:18
Yeah, I mean, I’d definitely tried those pie cookies. I took about six of them home one day, so. So if people want to find out more, maybe order a pie, what’s the best avenue for them to go to?

Alan Nugent 10:28
Check out www.stockholmpie.com and its brand new website that we are so proud of really clear and really educational about who we are and how to the process works. And some beautiful pictures of pie that are going to inspire you to definitely want pie. Who doesn’t want pie? I mean, what do we say pie equals love? So it’s quintessential Americana, it’s something that we really love in this country.

Amy Gabay 11:03
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse local. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.

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About La Crosse Local

La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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