Kessler Pie Co. Wins Pop-Up Location at Victory Plaza

The mother and daughter-run pie business beat out four other local female-led companies during Saturday's NextUp Female Founders Dallas pitch contest.

Debra Cano nd Armida Ortega of Kessler Pie co.

Victory Plaza is about to get a sweet new business.

Dallas-based Kessler Pie Co. will be moving into a pop-up brick and mortar location in the area for three-months this year. The company, famous for its pies in jars, won the opportunity to set up shop at this central location after competing in and winning the first NextUp Female Founders Dallas pitch competition.

Kosolu “Kasa” Ananti, founder of afrikoPOP.

Founded in Houston in 2014, NextSeed works to give local businesses access to debt financing, as well as allow residents to support businesses in their community through small investments beginning at $100. After noticing the disparage in capital against women in business, NextSeed launched its first Female Founders event featuring a marketplace and pitch competition last year in Houston. This year, the crowdfunding company decided to bring it to Dallas. 

On Saturday, five Dallas-based female entrepreneurs participated in a pitch competition for the chance to win a temporary lease of about 1,200 square feet of space at Victory Plaza, along with $5,000 worth of legal consulting. The competing companies included afrikoPOP, The Goat!s Revolt, Tressed Studio, Symbology Clothing, and Kessler Pie Co.


Before the pitch competition, local women entrepreneurs showcased their businesses in a market. During the market, Dallas Innovates caught up with Marissa Heyl of Symbology Clothing.

Marissa Heyl of Symbology Clothing.

Symbology Clothing employs underprivileged women in underdeveloped countries to create fabrics which will then be used in high-end designs. In spring 2019, the clothing line will be featured in 10 Belk stores across North Texas.

With the expanding company, Heyl plans to bring some of the cut and sew operations to local Dallas refugees.

“We want to bring home that story of empowerment and help with operations.” 

Marissa Heyl

“We want to bring home that story of empowerment and help with operations… It’s an opportunity to give them sustainable employment and a foundation to start a new life here,” Heyl said.

While Symbology did not win the pitch competition’s grand prize, Heyl hopes to continue to collaborate with other clothing lines and get into other retail stores across the country.

Before the pitch competition, local women-led businesses participated in a market.



The desire to expand was echoed during Debra Cano’s Kessler Pie Co. pitch. She explained that the family business developed through years of baking pies together. After realizing that a single piece of pie does not look aesthetically pleasing by itself, the idea to make pies in a jar was born. The company now sells jars in 4, 8, and 16 ounces.

Currently, the business has the capacity to make roughly 250 pies a day. The majority of sales are online, but Cano is looking to change that.

“We’re just so thankful for everyone who helped us get here.”

Debra Cano

“We look bigger than we are… One of our needs is location. If someone is coming to Kessler Pies, they’re coming for us, that’s it. [Right now] we have no walk-bys. We have no way to get to the next level from here,” Cano said during her pitch.

After she concluded, the panel of judges questioned her about her production, marketing, and sales, which have totaled around $72,000 this year. 

“We’d love to be [in Victory Plaza]… If we were to win, that would be make or break for us, because we really believe it’s our location that’s limiting us,” Cano said.

After scores from the judges were tallied and audience members texted in their vote, the Kessler Pie Co. was declared the winner. 

“We’re just so thankful for everyone who helped us get here,” Cano told Dallas Innovates

The Kessler Pie Co. will open its brick and mortar store at Victory Plaza later this year.

Female Founders pitch competition judges.

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