Blackpool couple who went from living on streets to owning a pie shop

A couple from the Fylde Coast both found themselves homeless on separate occasions, however, they’ve managed to build their own pie business and raise money for other homeless youngsters along the way.

A couple from Lancashire have opened up on their journey from homelessness to owning their very own thriving business.

Zanetta Powell found herself homeless when she was 20-years-old after a bad relationship broke down, which led her into debt and eventual homelessness. Her husband, Dan, who she was not with at the time, was also homeless and living on the streets.

They eventually met when they both got a flat and were next door neighbours and nine years ago, they were married. It was also this time that Zanetta and Dan decided they wanted to give back to the charity that helped them get back onto their feet – Blackpool youth homeless charity, Streetlife.

Zanetta had been a volunteer at the charity once she had got herself a flat to live in at the age of 21. Then, several years later, she and Dan decided to give back and came up with a unique idea to do so.

Zanetta said: “It was around the time that myself and Dan got married when I approached Streetlife with my idea about how to raise money. We had been volunteering with the charity and once I had got settled and onto the right path, I wanted to give back and help other young people who are in similar situations to what we found ourselves in.”

In order to give back and raise awareness about youth homelessness, specifically in the Blackpool and Lytham St. Annes areas, Zanetta came up with the idea of Streetlife’s Big SleepOut. Started around six years ago, it is an initiative that the charity still partakes in to this day – with LancsLive reporting on the event last week.

Zanetta said: “One day I just came up with the idea of us sleeping rough to raise money. I thought it would allow people to have a taste of what it’s like to be homeless, although one night is definitely not the same, it gives an insight into the conditions.

“Jane, the CEO of Streetlife, was really receptive to my idea, we both knew it would raise awareness and help people in the local community. Lots of people came on board and turned up for the event, which was way more than I had expected. I haven’t actually gone to a SleepOut event since the last one, due to having my degree to focus on and my children, but it’s emotional to see how big it is now.”

Now, Zanetta and her husband own a pie shop, within the Hop Shoppe, a craft beer bar in Lytham St. Annes. Powell Pastries sells unique and handmade pies, with a community and family feel at the forefront of the business.

“Dan had been working in some of the pie shops around the area but was made redundant due to Covid,” Zanetta explained.

“So, that’s when we decided it would be the perfect opportunity to use his skills in setting up our own business that’s community based. We approached the Hop Shoppe as an idea to set up the bakery in their craft beer shop, as a lot of people in the area like to help you, as opposed to all the businesses being separate and competing.

“It works really well because people love having a pie and a pint. All of our pies are handmade and our fillings are really unique as well, we’ve made our five children’s favourite meals into pies. So, we’ve got Bolognese, a hot dog pie, a pizza pie and our bestseller is Dan’s favourite – the bacon cheeseburger pie.

“Everything we do is made out of love and the passion we have for it.”