103-Year-Old Black Woman Still Runs Pie Shop She Opened In 1952

Mary Woodruff and husband James opened Woodruff’s Café & Pie Shop in 1952 and the 103-year-old still helps run the business. At that time there were very few Black owned businesses in Monroe, Virginia, a small town not very far from Lynchburg. Mary and James built a café and an apartment upstairs, which they lived in. It was the start to a ride that very few could have ever predicted, a ride that’s still moving.

Mary Woodruff

Jet Magazine began publishing around the time Mary and James opened their pie shop. Jet Magazine is no longer printing and was sold by Johnson Publishing Company in 2016. Woodruff’s Café & Pie Shop, however, still sells about 75 handmade pies on any given Saturday. It hasn’t been a single, smooth ride, however– after 30 years in business, the shop closed in 1982. Woodruff’s daughter, Angela Scott, however, reopened the business in 1998 with her husband, desiring to keep the family tradition alive. Keeping the tradition alive, however, wouldn’t be as easy as Angela had hoped.

When Angela first reopened, business was pretty slow. She mostly sold sandwiches and customers just weren’t responding, frankly. “There were days that we didn’t have a customer, maybe one or two,” she admits. Angela had serious thoughts about closing the business, as any entrepreneur might be inclined to do. With her mother’s encouragement, Angela continued to press on and also, got back to the family staple of pies: things quickly began to change.

Today there is a sign for “Pie Shop” outside and at 103-years-old, Mary Woodruff is still helping to run the shop. Scores of businesses have come and gone and yet Woodruff’s Café & Pie Shop is still churning out sweet goodness, each day. Good things happen to those who wait but in this case, very sweet things happen to those who bake.

46 comments
  1. James I Means II Principal
    James I Means II Principal
    February 22, 2020 at 12:02 am

    I would like to post my company Spanky’s Pickles, LLC. We are a gourmet pickle company specializing in fundraising for schools and PTO’s Nationwide. We offer 30+ gourmet vegetable and fruit products celebrating a 50/50 revenue split with school, club or PTA/PTO

    Reply
  2. Marcus L. Daniels
    Marcus L. Daniels
    February 22, 2020 at 8:46 am

    How can I contribute to the legacy this woman created!!!! I want to give to her and her organization? Its small, but its something!!!!

    Reply
    • Debra
      Debra
      February 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      These pies 🥧 look wonderful! You can help by sending me one. I am currently in KY helping to take care of my Mother that is ill. I love ❤️ pies 🥧 and sweets. The sweet simple things in life are the best. Have a blessed day.

      Reply
    • Rosie
      Rosie
      February 25, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      This family is amazing! And their pies are just as wonderful as they are! Please visit Ms. Mary & the family @ Woodruffs Store & Pie Shop!

      Reply
    • Peter
      Peter
      March 1, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      Wow great

      Reply
  3. Vanessa
    Vanessa
    February 22, 2020 at 11:29 am

    I’m a small business owner and the struggle is real !
    Congratulations on your 103 years in business.
    The Pie Shop! Do you ship?

    Reply
    • Karyn Bonds
      Karyn Bonds
      February 26, 2020 at 8:38 pm

      They haven’t been in business for 103 years. The owner is 103. They have been in business for 52 years, which is still an amazing feat. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kimberly
    Kimberly
    February 22, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    These success stories continue to feed my hunger of doing for ‘self and helping those in need collecting my own pay check- Namaste!🙋🏽‍♀️

    Reply
  5. SueC
    SueC
    February 22, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    I wonder if they have considered expanding their business outside of the walls of the cafe… online sales, festivals, holiday & event preorders, etc.

    Reply
    • D Graham
      D Graham
      February 27, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      I was wondering the same. I’d order a couple now! They’d have to expand, imho. Wonderful story.

      Reply
  6. Arnita Pevy
    Arnita Pevy
    February 22, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    MAKES ME PROUD I WISH WE HAD MORE BLACK OWN BUSINESS.

    Reply
  7. Jean
    Jean
    February 22, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!
    DO YOU DO MAIL ORDERS??

    Reply
  8. karen m wilkerson
    karen m wilkerson
    February 22, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    where is this at

    Reply
    • Kristin
      Kristin
      February 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm

      It says Monroe, Virginia near Lynchburg.

      Reply
  9. Judy Gee
    Judy Gee
    February 22, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Love this!

    Reply
  10. Teresa Johnson
    Teresa Johnson
    February 22, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    This is a great story it caught my eye and I continued to read a lot of hard work for many years family owned that’s exceptional in my eyes keep up the outstanding job. I will share this with others keep doing what you do.
    Teresa

    Reply
  11. Joan Hicks
    Joan Hicks
    February 22, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Saw segment on Today show with Al Roker on Thursday morning.

    Reply
  12. Lisa Buckner
    Lisa Buckner
    February 22, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    I’m an Entrepreneur who owns Mama’s Homemade Pie Shop. Black owned since 2016. I love this story!

    Reply
    • Bob Grannis
      Bob Grannis
      February 24, 2020 at 12:19 am

      Off and on for 58 years. My my my. May you have a chain of successful pie shoppes for at least a half-century. I am a sucker for Cherry pie. May God bless each and every one of you. Be happy!

      Reply
  13. Annette Jones
    Annette Jones
    February 22, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Mama can you mail me a pie, I’m in Texas and would love to try one,!! I want a chess and buttermilk pie !!

    Reply
  14. Theodore
    Theodore
    February 22, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Great people great food

    Reply
  15. Linda Claiborne
    Linda Claiborne
    February 22, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    This is amazing b/c The Grandmother still has her stake in the business plus it’s a blessing she’s living. I’m very glad to know this family kept on pushing & now can look back & be proud they didn’t give up. To GOD be the glory. Hey…….. I’m originally from Danville,Va.. Not far from you’ll. Thanks for sharing & the next time I’m through that way I’ll know where to get good eatin’ from.

    Reply
  16. Bertha Avie
    Bertha Avie
    February 22, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Do you sell on line

    Reply
    • Rosie
      Rosie
      February 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      They do not sell online, nor do they ship mail order. 🙁
      But the visit & conversation is part of the experience! 💟

      Reply
  17. Janie Drew Ray
    Janie Drew Ray
    February 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    This an awesome story! It should be shared, especially with African Americans! It should inspire potential entrepreneurs! Thanks.

    Reply
  18. Michael kenney
    Michael kenney
    February 23, 2020 at 12:00 am

    God has blessed her life. With LOVE

    Reply
  19. Deanna Richardson
    Deanna Richardson
    February 23, 2020 at 2:34 am

    That is totally wonderful

    Reply
  20. Sally Dryer
    Sally Dryer
    February 23, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Do you mail out pies? Do you have a list of what you make?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Williams
      Rebecca Williams
      February 24, 2020 at 12:11 am

      Congratulations, I was thinking about if they sold pies on line I would like to purchase her pies.

      Reply
  21. Denise
    Denise
    February 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Are you related to the Woodruff’s in Madison Heights Va. James Woodfuff, son name Dwight (Dell)

    Reply
  22. Bertha
    Bertha
    February 23, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Great article. Frequently in Chicago. Let me know how I can help.

    Reply
  23. James Carter
    James Carter
    February 24, 2020 at 2:24 am

    We have thousands of Black Business Owners. I own Executive Shirts in Detroit. Our website is executiveshirts-force.com. I feature my sons and grandson as the models. Take a look at the website and feel free to call in your orders for faster service.

    Reply
  24. MsJ
    MsJ
    February 24, 2020 at 2:56 am

    They are on the south side of Chicago. Or. Google the name of their restaurant in chicago. Something will come up.

    Reply
    • Karyn Bonds
      Karyn Bonds
      February 26, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      They are located in Monroe, VA.

      Reply
  25. Gary Arnold
    Gary Arnold
    February 24, 2020 at 3:02 am

    How can I get a pie like apple from you do send them to other states

    Reply
  26. Teresa
    Teresa
    February 24, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Great article you should submit to Garden and Gun, Foodways alliance, and Bitter Southerner (a very progressive blog)

    Reply
  27. Munny
    Munny
    February 24, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Here is their Yelp page. I bookmarked in case I ever find myself in that area

    Woodruff Store Cafe & Pie Shop

    https://yelp.to/qTKq/LgEHUjOjl4

    Reply
  28. Christina
    Christina
    February 24, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Do they ship?

    Reply
  29. Scott Culpepper
    Scott Culpepper
    February 24, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Well I’m gonna drive there from PA and buy me a couple of pies!

    Reply
  30. Connie
    Connie
    February 24, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    God Bless this sweet woman!! Looking great for 103 yrs BLESSED!!! I would like to know can I order online for delivery?? I would love to support BLACK OWNED but I live on Long Island New York. Keep doing a great job😘😘😘

    Reply
  31. Shelly
    Shelly
    February 24, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    I would love to purchase a pie but I reside in MD. Do you ship? If not the next time i visit my mom in South Boston, VA I’m going to stop by your pie shop. I love to support black owned businesses. Blessings!!!

    Reply
  32. Michelle Woodruff
    Michelle Woodruff
    February 25, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    My last name is Woodruff, and my grandfathers name was US Woodruff from Oklahoma. I would love to buy a pie from you.
    Thank you
    Michelle Woodruff

    Reply
  33. Wayne Bailey
    Wayne Bailey
    February 25, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Their pies are awesome and, if I recall correctly, they also make fresh peach milkshakes when peaches are in season in that area. If can make the trip, you won’t regret it!

    Reply
  34. Karyn Bonds
    Karyn Bonds
    February 26, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    What a blessing! Wishing the family and their business many, many more years of success! Truly a labor of love.

    Reply
  35. Apst. Johnson
    Apst. Johnson
    February 27, 2020 at 8:48 am

    I want talk to this grand lady M’am.Mary Woodruff . ..
    and take her blessings, please.
    Pst. Johnson- India.

    Reply
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