PIES: Offer customers unique and outstanding nine inch pies from scrumptious recipes from the Darden family that date back many, many years. Since our beginning, people across the country have been enticed by the dreamy taste and simple pleasure of a Darden’s Delights pie, a unique taste of Deep South goodness made in the heart of Atlanta, GA. Each and every Darden’s Delights pie is sold frozen and uniquely packaged for any occasion.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: We believe our success will create a brighter future for individuals with developmental disabilities, both financially and with involvement/employment opportunities. We use creativity and new ideas to both challenge and supplement the reliance on entitlements, charity, and benevolence.
PURCHASING POWER: The direct retail sales of our delicious pies serve two purposes, (1) to support other organizations that build and promote better outcomes for future generations of individuals with disabilities and (2) to drive the growth of Darden’s Delights.
In 2009, we started Darden’s Delights on a simple premise: to use the purchasing power of individuals to create more opportunity and better outcomes for people with developmental disabilities. As parents of a child with a developmental disability, we believe in an alternate approach to provide more long-term opportunity in the community not only for Darden, but for other generations of people with disabilities. To debunk the perceived limitations and restrictions of a developmental disability, we focus on the strength of creativity, cooperation, and competition within in the community. The Darden’s Delights model was conceived to provide unique products and an approach that would benefit communities and many other people.
It began at a local pre-school bake sale in Atlanta in 2009 with a few fudge pies affixed with a simple sticker of Darden’s picture, serving suggestions and a name, “Darden’s Desserts”. The fudge recipe we used originated from Darden’s great grandmother, MaTee, from Waycross, GA. Needless to say, feedback was very positive and demand for more pies increased. We began filling orders on an individual basis and changed our name to Darden’s Delights with the idea that we may be able to offer more than desserts in the future. We named our two signature fudge pies and added an additional pie to the menu. The fudge pie became “Darden’s Dangerously Delicious Fudge Pie”. A fudge pie with the addition of pecans was aptly dubbed “Darden’s Extra Dangerous Fudge Pie with Pecans”. The chocolate chip cookie pie became “Darden’s Off the Chart Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie”. We finished 2009 with good sales and gave 20% of gross sales to the Adaptive Learning Center, whose mission is “creating communities of inclusion for children with special needs and their families”.
In 2010 we focused on Easter, the Fourth of July and other holidays. We added a lemon-chess pie, “Darden’s Smack Yo’ Lips Lemon Chess Pie” for the non-chocolate lovers out there. We finished the pie menu off with two more additions, a butterscotch pie “Darden’s Luscious Butterscotch Pie” and a butterscotch pie with pecans “Darden’s Super Luscious Butterscotch Pie with Pecans”. Additionally, Darden’s Delights became part of the Edge Connection through Kennesaw State University’s plan for profit program and received recognition as a second place finisher of the Packer Foundation Business Achievement Award. Word of mouth traveled fast, and sales more than doubled in 2010 with another contribution to the Adaptive Learning Center while maintaining a solid base of customer support.
In 2011, with our six mouthwatering pies, we decided to add an “outpost” location at 241 West Wieuca Road NE in Atlanta, GA, open most Fridays throughout the year in addition to filling special orders. In July, Darden’s Delights made a test market debut in Northern Michigan, the heart of fudge lover’s country, and acquired fans representative of the entire country. We continue to grow and give back as more and more fans become aware of our unique company, pies and purpose - an idea that not only can impact the community of Atlanta, but potentially communities across the country.