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Life after The Pie Factory for Sonja Seaman

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Semi-retired: Sonja Seaman and her dog, Lexi, enjoying life after closing The Pie Factory’s storefront (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

For more than 20 years, Sonja Seaman loved running The Pie Factory.

She sold hundreds of traditional Bermuda pies on a daily basis, as well as other food items.

“I used to phone up the radio station to tell people what was on our menu,” she said. “Before I hung up, people would be lining up outside our shop at 6 Parliament Street in Hamilton.”

After Covid-19, however, her feelings changed.

“I couldn’t wait for the doors to close at 4pm,” Ms Seaman said. “All the joy just went out of it for me.”

On January 31 she closed the store and declared she was taking a break.

“Right now, I am taking off the month of February and possibly March,” she said.

After that point she will find a commercial kitchen to work out of, and will resume providing pies to service stations and grocery stores around the island, but will no longer have a storefront.

“Right now, we supply to six outlets, but we might increase that,” she said.

Cooking runs in her family. Her mother, Sheila Furbert ran Mama Angie’s in St George for many years, before Ms Seaman’s brother Wesley Furbert took it over. It was named for their grandmother, Angeline Waldron, who at one time, ran a popular coffee shop in St George.

Forward looking: Sonia Seaman on the day The Pie Factory opened on Parliament Street in 2015 (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Sheila Furbert was living in Bristol, England when she fell ill in 2020.

“She was talking on the phone one day and collapsed,” Ms Seaman said. “Two of my daughters were there with their children, and a great niece who was out there in school, was also visiting.

“My daughter called me at 5am and said the paramedics had been working on my mother for half an hour.

“I had been asleep and it took me awhile to process. Then I just screamed and screamed. The paramedics worked on her for an hour, because there was so much love for her in the house.”

They held the funeral in Somers Garden in St George.

“She grew up on Shinbone Alley and ran the restaurant across the street,” Ms Seaman said.

Then Ms Seaman’s father, Maurice Furbert, died last July after a massive stroke. It was a turning point for her.

“I turned 60 last November,” she said. “I started asking myself, what is it all for? I have been studying the Bible with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and I just want to simplify my life. This is the time. So in October, I put in my notice and said I was done.”

Now, she is enjoying her new-found freedom.

“I could never go three steps from the pies,” she said. “I could not have a conversation because there were pies in the oven. The shop had to open at 11. Every day was spoken for.”

However, she always loved dealing with her customers.

“That was real,” she said. “I miss them already, but I feel more alive than I have in several years. Last week, I went to St David’s Primary to see my granddaughter run cross country. That was really nice. I now have time to pick them up from school. I want to travel.”

She has four grown children Kelly, Kayla, Kiera and Colin who all love cooking.

“My children always wanted to help me,” she said. “Colin started making the dough at the age of 4, and could make a pie from start to finish, at a young age.”

Colin has been helping her in the business for some time. She makes the stew for the pie, and he makes the crust.

Her hope is that when she brings the business back online after a break, he will take it over and she can step back. “I am semi-retired,” she said.

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Published February 19, 2024 at 6:59 am (Updated February 19, 2024 at 8:59 am)

Life after The Pie Factory for Sonja Seaman

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