BHM: Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company

You’re going to want a piece of this: Louisville’s very own Black-owned pie shop.


Design by Grant Stromquist

Words by Lillian Metzmeier

Half-melted snow covered the grass leading up to Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company at 1559 Bardstown Road. As I was walking up the steps — trying not to slip on any ice — I couldn’t help but notice the yard signs that read “FREE children’s books,” placed right in front of the store.

Upon entering, I wasn’t presented with the set-up of a typical cafe or shop, with seating or a clearly formed line in front of a bar. Instead, I found myself standing in a house. 

Now, this house-turned-shop space is not out of the ordinary for the Bardstown Road area, but the decoration stood out to me immediately. Rather than obvious renovations and an open floor plan, the home-y setting was fully embraced. Family photos and cards adorned a desk across from a fireplace next to a corner filled with books.

Ohh, so these must be the books those signs were talking about.

As I took in my surroundings, and the growing smell of sweet potato, a woman entered the room. 

“Let me get all of you guys some books!” the smiling woman said, gesturing at the children in the family next to me.

She grabbed a book for each kid from the corner, and disappeared for a moment, returning with a bigger book for the preteen. Though I wasn’t completely sure what was going on, I knew I liked this place already. 

Soon, the woman turned to me. 

Before I could fully introduce myself, she eagerly exclaimed. “Lillian! Oh, I was just about to call you!”

That’s when I found out this sort of “Book Santa” was actually Dawn Urrutia, President of Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company.

After talking to her a bit over Zoom, I found out that the books were the driving force behind the making of the pie company.

“I wanted to help children. I am an early childhood educator and coach by trade. So I understand the importance of actually introducing rich literature to children when they’re young,” Urrutia said. 

The idea was simple but strong: get books out to children that include ideas of love, diversity, acceptance, and inclusion. This way, children can read about different people from a young age and have an example of community rather than division.

“I really feel that it’s hard to mistreat people that you view as human,” Urrutia said. 

As well as the children, Urrutia also hopes that these books can impact the parents reading them to their kids. 

Urrutia realized that the sweet potato pies she casually made for family and friends could be a funnel for this mission she had. After selling products at Louisville flea markets and farmers markets, the company now has a location on Bardstown Road, which opened on January 23 — National Pie Day. 

Georgia’s is Black-owned, but Urrutia expresses the importance of supporting them because of their mission of love, not just to ease some white-guilt during the second month of the year. 

“I want people to support us because they believe in what we’re doing,” Urrutia said. 

Fortunately, it seems that Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company has gained support from not only Louisville consumers, but other Louisville small businesses.

The company has partnered with Carmichael’s Bookstore in order to maximize the number of books they can give out to children. Not only can people donate books directly to Georgia’s for a $5 gift certificate, they can also go onto Carmichael’s website and buy books from their wishlist for 20% off, as well as donate in-store!

Though most of the books kept in-house target younger audiences, teenagers who want a book don’t need to worry!

“If there’s a high schooler out there, and they want a certain book that promotes love, diversity and acceptance, all they have to do is just let us know, they can send me a message through social media or email me and we will purchase the book for them. And they can just come pick it up free of charge,“ Urrutia said.

Along with Carmichael’s, Georgia’s has partnered with other Louisville local businesses. Louisville Cream, a “premium small batch” ice cream parlor on East Market Street, makes the sweet potato pie ice cream offered on the menu. The woman behind Kizito Cookies — one of my personal favorites — on Bardstown Road creates the sweet potato chocolate chip cookies. Jamberson candle company in Shively takes the sugar from the sweet potatoes and infuses it with soy to make the candles that are for sale and on display in the shop.

This partnership with Louisville local businesses shows an emphasis on community rather than competition, which is exactly what Urrutia hopes to show the next generation of adults in the form of reading. 

“I believe in planting seeds. And I’m hoping as these children grow up, that they will grow up to be adults to where maybe they’re put in a position to where they might feel like they have to pull a trigger, that they won’t do it because they’re going to see themselves in other individuals,” Urrutia said. 

The company is named after Urrutia’s grandmother, Georgia, and the fact that the company is family-owned helps contribute to the love customers feel upon entering.

“When you walk into our store, I want you to feel like you’re just getting a really big bear hug from one of your favorite people in the whole world,” Urrutia said. 

She also emphasized the importance of kindness over product.

The vegan sweet potato pie I bought, though amazing, was not the star of the show during my visit. Every conversation I had with the employees at Georgia’s was real, not forced or “customer-service friendly,” like I’m used to.

In my Zoom interview with Urrutia, I found myself opening up about my career and college aspirations, even though I was supposed to be the one asking the questions.

Though on the outside it’s a store that sells sweet potato pies, Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company was made to help children, and plant seeds to create a more compassionate world. 

One thing Urrutia and I agree on is that above all, love is always the bottom line. If you’re looking to buy a pie, donate a book, or just have a nice conversation, Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company experience is one filled with love.