VENTNOR — A local family has turned a farmers market concession into a multistate enterprise that spreads peace with their icy concoction.
“I like creative foods,” said shop owner Joe Klause, 30, of Egg Harbor Township. “It’s our special cookie recipe and ice cream — some of the flavors we make ourselves — and a few condiments. It’s really just an ice cream sandwich.”
Klause said his dad, Jerry, was at the family’s Woodstock, New York, house on Thanksgiving Day, and it was his job to make the shortbread cookies. He added a big dip of vanilla ice cream and some leftover pecan pie filling, froze it, and the very first Peace Pie was born.
“Once we ate it, we realized how delicious it was,” Klause said.
He is proud to be the son of the Peace Pie inventor.
“You might say I’m the first Peace Pie disciple," he said.
Of course, there’s a peace sign embossed on every one.
It took the family four years to develop their Peace Pie idea, and they now have a patent pending. They started selling them five years ago at the Margate Community Farmers Market, and their first sale was one dozen pies.
“We couldn’t make them fast enough,” he said.
The following summer, they participated in two farmers markets, then nine markets from Brigantine to Stone Harbor, said Klause, a classically trained trumpeter.
“The next summer, we bought the store in Cape May from a classical trombone player who taught me at Juilliard,” he said.
When Klause relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, for school, the family opened a second location there. His sister MaryRose Lacavera moved to St. Augustine, Florida, recently, so they opened a store there in January.
“We were looking for a location in Ocean City and found a perfect spot near a water park. Then someone told me this building was for sale," Klause said of the building at 7301 Ventnor Ave. "We had looked at it before Greens and Grains opened here last summer."
The family purchased the Ventnor building three months ago and did some minor redecorating before opening without fanfare July 15.
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“We opened the doors at 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night and sold 2½ times as much as we sell all day Sunday,” he said. “People know us. They said they are glad we have a permanent location. Some take them home to put into the freezer for parties.”
The company now employs about 20 people in six locations.
“We enjoy building jobs for people who share the vision of the company,” he said, “which is to foster peace in the world.”
Peace Pies are assembled in the store for both the Ventnor and Ocean City locations. Flavors have been added over the years to include molten chocolate, s’mores, salted caramel, The Elvis with peanut butter and banana, Blondies, red velvet, creme brulee and key lime Peace Pies. They encourage customers to give them ideas for new pies.
Peace Pies cost $6 each, including tax.
“I don’t like to deal with change,” Klause said.
So, one might ask how they came up with the name, Peace Pie.
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“My dad was eating peanut butter chiffon pie at Steve & Cookies By The Bay, and one of his friends said, ‘If everyone on the planet could have one slice of this pie, there would be peace in the world,’ and that’s how he got the name,” he said.
There was one hitch to overcome, however. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream had trademarked the name.
“But they let it go, and we were able to pick it up,” Klause said.
The Peace Pie store doesn’t have set hours, Klause said.
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“We’re open by noon and stay open until 11 p.m. Sometimes I’m here at 8 a.m., and if I’m here, we open. You’d be surprised how many people like ice cream for breakfast.”
For more, see peacepieworld.com.