Olga Sagan at Piroshky Piroshky
Piroshky Piroshky is a family-owned business that was founded in 1992 at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. They serve freshly made handheld pies from Eastern Europe with a wide range of fillings, and recipes passed down from generations–”It is not uncommon for Piroshkies to go straight from the oven and into your hands.” Piroshky Piroshky has become a Seattle staple enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Now owned by Olga Sagan, this family business is nationally renowned for its long lines out the door as guests eagerly anticipate savory and sweet Russian pastries, fresh from the oven. Beloved celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain even featured the bakery on his show “No Reservations.”
“[We started this business with] $1,200 to invest in the bakery. With the help of donations from friends and strangers, many of whom were immigrants of Russian descent, and a very basic business plan the bakery officially opened its doors on October 24, 1992, [and have since been a family-owned business beloved by many]” – Piroshky Piroshky website
With companies in the food and beverage industry deeply vulnerable in the wake of the pandemic, having to pivot to delivery and takeout, a lot of these businesses struggled to work with larger third-party delivery services like Doordash, Postmates, and UberEats for example. In response, Olga and her team developed a simple online marketplace for small businesses in the area that are offering delivery and takeout, giving power back to the local community. The team launched a website with “over 60 restaurants” and serves as an online platform for businesses to market their business. Though businesses still need to provide their own delivery and takeout option, Catch22 allows them to have control over their customer-facing menu and messaging and bringing them into a wider audience. One example was with Pike Place Chowder, they “have seen a bump in takeout and delivery orders (of 300 visitors to Pike Place Chowder’s site in the past few days, 280 came from Catch22).” Given the success of the platform, there have been requests to expand this service and is now offered outside of Washington state. Sagan also uses this platform to inform customers about her business, with weekly specials and new sanitation practices embedded on the page. Through this platform, she was also able to keep her employees on staff. This story is one good example of a small business pivot into new service offerings.