Lillian told herself that at age 62, she was going to retire. And she did for all of two weeks.
After retiring from Arby’s in early February 2016, Lillian made her way back to an industry she’d grown to love – food service – when she agreed to join the staff of a boutique bakery run by a childhood friend.
“I worked for BellSouth for 25 years. After a corporate shake-up, I was offered a buyout prior to my office closing, and I took it,” Williamson recalls, amused. After staying home for a couple of years, her brother, a 40-year veteran of Krispy Kreme, suggested that she recreate herself and pursue a management career in food service. “We need managers,” recalls Williamson, as she describes the conversation with her brother. So she took a leap of faith, applied, and was hired. And what was initially planned to last two years, flourished for thirteen as sales increased under her leadership as General Manager.
While life was “sweet” at Krispy Kreme, Williamson was fighting a personal battle after hours. “There were days that I’d work for 12-13 hours at Krispy Kreme then go for treatment,” says Williamson, recalling her days battling stomach cancer. But she relied on her faith and family to pull her through.
From Krispy Kreme, Williamson moved to Arby’s, where she served as General Manager for seven years, ending in early February 2016.
But then Barbara Toms came calling. “I’ve known Barbara nearly all my life. And when she asked if I’d be willing to bring my food service experience to the kitchen of Sweet Creations Pie Bakery, how could I say no,” says Williamson. She officially took on the role of Bakery Manager at the end of February 2016.
When asked how important the social mission of Sweet Creations Pie Bakery was to making the decision to return to work, Williamson had this to say, “It’s very rewarding. Sometimes people just need a second chance. And I can honestly say that the pies that come from this kitchen are baked with love.”