People Behind the Pie: Vivian El-Salawy
Vivian (Viv) El-Salawy is our Shop Manager in Downtown Woodstock. She is a graduate of Florida State University and dog mom to Coco Bean. Viv is obsessed with all things nature and plants, has a talent for music (she plays the saxophone), and a passion for literature.
Victoria Weinbrecht (VW): Quick! Give me an intro pitch.
Vivian El-Salawy (VE): My name's Vivian El-Salawy, I've been working at Pie Bar for close to 2.5 years now (wow!!) and I am the Shop Manager at our Downtown Woodstock location. Prior to Pie Bar, I graduated from FSU with a degree in Editing, Writing & Media. A lot of my spare time is spent gardening, writing, and binging crime documentaries on Netflix. Oh, and also with my dog - Coco. She's an ole dorkie weirdo.
VW: I went to Florida State University too! Also, we love our unofficial Pie Bar mascot – Coco.
VW: First of all, what brought/lead you to Pie Bar?
VE: After I graduated, I moved from Gainesville (Florida, not Georgia) to the Atlanta area -- my boyfriend grew up in Acworth. I was looking for writing jobs and picked up a part-time job at Pie Bar. At first I just worked weekends, then weekends turned into weekdays, and before I knew it, I found myself at Pie Bar full-time and loving it. I learned that although we sold "just pie", serving pie to folks was a lot more than just giving them a dessert -- it was serving them a warm memory, nostalgia on a plate, and an opportunity to build relationships with members within a new community that soon became home to me.
VW: Wow! You and Pie Bar are like a good relationship – it all came naturally and just fell into place. I love that.
VW: What’s your favorite part of working at Pie Bar?
VE: My favorite thing about working at Pie Bar is getting to meet all of the different people that work through our doors on a daily basis. Locals, non-locals, first-timers, regulars, and so on. I love hearing all of the amazing stories and experiences folks have to share -- about pie, and baking, and even just themselves. It feels great to have a family come in and to be able to ask how their home reno is going, or how their vacation went, or if they ever got to finish the book that they were reading. I've built some truly genuine and valuable connections with folks over pie, and I think that's really special!
VW: What’s your favorite Pie Bar flavor?
VE: Ummm, how am I supposed to pick just ONE?! I refuse to, that's how. I think my top three would be our Rustic Peach Crumble (Summer), Chocolate Chess (year-round babbyyyy) and Spiced Oatmeal Cookie (Winter).
VW: Oooh, chocolate chess is also one of my favorites, but I have yet to try Spiced Oatmeal Cookie (please don’t judge me).
VE: *Slightly judging you*
VW: Moving on, what are your hobbies or favorite activities outside of work?
VE: I really like gardening -- I definitely still have a lot of growth in this area, but I like the aspect of trying, failing, trying again, succeeding, learning what works and what doesn't work. Also, having plants in and around my home is a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. I like kicking a soccer ball around, reading (currently reading Rubyfruit Jungle), hiking (Red Top is my go-to spot).
VW: Which musical artist are you listening to right now?
VE: Oooh, this is a good one. Coldplay is probably my favorite band, so I listen to them a lot. But scrolling through my Spotify now, I'm seeing a lot of: FINNEAS, Watsky, The Killers, Modest Mouse, and also....Crime Junkies (not a music artist -- but goes along with my obsession with crime podcasts/documentaries).
VW: I love Coldplay and The Killers. I played their songs way too much on Rock Band – a video game.
VW: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
VE: Hmm, New Zealand is my dream vacay. It just looks absolutely stu-nning.
VW: WHAT?!?! Me too! (Please take me with you.)
VW: If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
VE: Lawd, I'm not sure. I'd probably pay off my car payments, mortgage, etc. I'd send some to my family to help them out a bit, donate a good chunk of it to charity, and leave the rest for travel.
VW: I’d honestly do something similar. I felt guilty asking this question because I, myself can’t even decide what to do with five-hundred dollars, nonetheless a million.
Vivian is a key member of our team, and an amazing person. Next time you’re in Woodstock, make sure to pop in and say hello to her!