Creatives in Conversation: Missy Mercer, Pastry Chef
We are excited to launch a new blog series titled Creatives in Conversation! The mission behind this blog series is to introduce and celebrate fellow female creatives and entrepreneurs that also happen to be ExVoto clients!
I’m so happy to introduce you to my friend and fellow merchant-neighbor, Missy Ferraro Mercer. Missy is the chef and owner of Tomatino’s Pizza and Lousia’s Bakery Cafe in Montgomery, Alabama. Her cafe and restaurant are located right across the street from our Montgomery studio/showroom.
I am in the Montgomery studio once a week and I have formed a bit of a habit of stopping through Lousia’s Cafe for a smoothie and a cookie as my treat for the ride back to Birmingham. (oops) Louisa’s and ExVoto were neighbors even in our former showroom location and we both moved around the same time. Our entire team did a happy dance when we heard the news that Missy was moving her cafe and pizza restaurant across the street from us in Old Cloverdale! (We are particularly partial to her smoked turkey and avocado sandwich.) Missy and I have enjoyed watching each other’s businesses grow and supporting each other.
I would say that I recently “sat down” with Missy to interview her for her Creatives in Conversation blog post feature, but who are we kidding? This woman is a chef and she never sits down! Even when she was pregnant with TWINS! So this interview looked more like this, “Missy, you keep making that tiramisu and I’ll just ask you these questions while you do your thing.”
Elizabeth: “What is your background?”
Missy: “I have a finance degree from Auburn University and then I went on from there to a French Culinary School. My Italian grandmother inspired me because she loved to cook. I was also captivated by those old-school cooking shows with the tall, white chef hats. Not the food network shows like we see today. I wanted that super-strict French cooking!
Elizabeth: “What is your favorite part of your job?”
Missy: “Making food! I love making food in this kitchen and watching the clients through the open window as they interact with the food in the cafe. I like to become involved in the customer experience and discuss with them their likes and dislikes. My favorite thing of my job is that I get to do what I love everyday, no matter how stressful it is.”
Elizabeth: “What aspects make this job stressful?”
Missy: “Employee management or desk-work like all the back office and administrative work. I have a degree in finance so I can read reports and understand what the numbers are saying, thankfully, but cooking is what I really want to do with my time.”
Elizabeth: “What is an interesting commission or collaboration from your business experience?”
Missy: “Well I love watching someone’s business grow. I have loved watching ExVoto grow! We have a catering client who, over the years, has developed a different arm of their company that needs catering weekly and we were there from the beginning. I really respect their business and how they go about it, so it has been great to be there and watch their growth and expansion.”
Elizabeth: “Where do you see your career taking you next?”
Missy: “Well, there is always a possible second location. We live in Pike Road, and I think there may be a market there for us one day. We do a lot of wholesale of our breads and bakery goods to restaurants and coffee shops around town and I can see that growing more. I’m not worried about the future. We make everything from scratch right here and we are the only bakery/cafe in town that offers that. My job is to just make sure the food is always fresh and good and make sure our customer service is excellent. I look forward to adapting and creating new items because that’s what makes my job fun!”
Elizabeth: “What would your advice be to a 20 year-old who wants to do what you do?”
Missy: “Work hard and don’t complain about the working hard. My parents raised me that way. Find what you love to do and make it work for you.”
Elizabeth: “You and I are each other’s clients, which I love, and you own many pieces of ExVoto that you have collected over the years. So lastly, I have to ask you, what is your favorite piece of ExVoto jewelry?”
Missy: “Those earrings you have on!! (the Blake earrings) I haven’t seen those yet and I am loving those! But as far as ExVoto that I already own, I would have to say this Zoe necklace I am wearing. I wear it often and I always get compliments every time I wear it!”
To learn more about Missie and Cafe Louisa, click here!
Photos by Elizabeth Adams.