Hometown Hero: Aunt Flora

Aunt Flora had long carried a desire to share her deep love for God with others. God met her in that desire, but, as she would say, it wasn’t the plan she originally intended. Aunt Flora, whose given name is Katrina Mincy, adopted the name of her great aunt Flora Saunders. Besides being known for her baking skills, the original Aunt Flora was also famous as one of the women who traveled under the name of Aunt Jemima in the 1940s, representing the brand. Katrina, who is now called Aunt Flora says: “well, basically, I was recovering from an illness, and I came across the box that my mom had given me. Looking at the recipes that were in the box, my mom told me they were my aunt’s. I didn’t know she had written things out, but in looking at those, I said, well, I’m recovering, so let me try to see what I can do with these recipes. I saw an article in a newspaper, and I ended up taking samples to these people. They told me ‘you gotta start a business selling pies’. And I said ‘I’m not up to selling pies. I want to do ministry’. But with the help of my husband, I found a small space. We started selling our cobblers, and the rest is history.”

Aunt Flora began to see how she could share her faith through baking for people who would never walk through the doors of a church. She comments: “I don’t know how to turn it on and off. I basically carry it with me. When I started, it was like, girl, you’re supposed to be doing pies, but you’re talking to somebody about Jesus. And they ask me what’s in my pies? I say, it’s love. It comes from the love of God, because He’s the one who opened the door for this to happen. It’s not something that I actually plan, so I couldn’t do one without the other. So I’m like, God is first and then okay, here comes the cobblers.”

As Aunt Flora and her husband, Ron, built the pie business, God provided a unique opportunity to spread His fame throughout the country. She explains it this way: “In starting Aunt Flora’s, we were in the area of Price Hill, and we ended up moving and being one of the first African Americans in Findlay Market in Cincinnati. So that kind of helped us because that’s where we met Martha Stewart. She was friends with someone here in Cincinnati, and they said, if you ever go to Cincinnati, you have to check out this lady called Aunt Flora. She makes these awesome cobbler pies. So she came and gave us the opportunity to be on her show. Then she ended up guiding us in a certain different way to Oprah. On her TV show, Oprah said ‘if you think you can do my show, then I think that you should submit a video.’ I came into an Aunt Flora character and I did this video, and it was comical, but it did it did the trick because I ended up getting a call from one of her producers. They told me ‘you’re going to be one of the finalists in Oprah’s contest’. I just couldn’t believe it, but it just goes on and on”.

The foundation of Aunt Flora’s business and ministry is the strength of her marriage to her husband, Ron. She says: “You know, God has opened so many doors because we’ve been faithful. And the other thing is to have a partner, my husband, that is on the same page with you. You know, a lot of a lot of husbands and wives can’t work together. But when you’ve got Jesus, He works it out. And so he has his gift and he does all the marketing and public relations stuff. I’m the kitchen person. I create. It’s a thing where you have to stay in your lane, you know what I’m saying? He stays in his lane and I stay in my lane, and then we come together and make it work.”
There are stories where, in the most remarkable way, God ambushes us. We have our plans, but our best opportunity is not to lean on our own understanding, but to just follow him wherever He takes us. Aunt Flora and Ron are baking great desserts in the cobbler pies, but what they’re actually doing is sharing the sweetness of the good news, and they’re doing it in a way that they never would have imagined as missionaries to the marketplace.