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Timing for a new patisserie

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I hope to open a patisserie here in Northwest Arkansas within the next year or so. Although we are in the Mid-South I feel that there is a niche for a specialty shop like this. We only have one American bakery in a neighboring town that almost everyone uses as well as some small cake shops that are pretty good but limited to cakes and typical American baked goods. They are also in the next town over.

My question is: Is this a terrible economic time to be a start up patisserie? Our area has experienced tons of growth in the last 5 years but of course we are feeling the housing crunch as well as seeing some chain restaurants and retailers closing.

We do have an affluent group of people here due to Bentonville being Wal Mart's home office. Many of their vendors relocate from the East and West coast and are looking for the amenities they had back home. There are new high end grocers moving in now and I don't want to miss an opportunity to get into the market before there are more specialty bakeries as well. At some point I would love to add bistro fare but I imagine that would be a while down the road.

Any thoughts? I would love to hear any feeback you might have.

post #2 of 3
I hope that it isn’t a terrible economic time to open a patisserie. Sounds like you and I have similar backgrounds and a similar plan. For years my “boutique bakery” dream has been resigned to the “one day” folder. Things have changed for us in the past few months and after lots of discussion and inquiry it is now the official plan for our family’s future.

I’ve gone through stop and start on planning and even once got close to bricks and mortar over the course of several years. The stars just never lined up right for it. I’m excited that they have now, but am well aware that the next 18 months or so shall be spent doing a lot of work that has nothing to do with playing with flour, sugar and butter.

There is so much that goes into opening any kind of business, even in ideal economic conditions, I always wonder how anyone ever manages to get their doors open. There is a great deal of things that I need to educate myself about and the internet is a great starting place. You are in luck that you have stumbled across ChefTalk. I’ve been visiting here for over a year and you will find that these folks really know what they are talking about and even better than that, they share their knowledge and experience readily.

Out side of looking at how to line up the dough (pun intended) to get the doors open. I’ve already been scouting locations. Since I’ve been living with this dream for awhile, I already have a clear idea of how I want to market and brand the business. Fortunately, I’m in a great area for what I want to do and there is precious little competition.

So if you are asking if I think it’s a good idea… I’d have to say: yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be attempting the same venture.

Good luck and keep us posted.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi Izbnso,

Thanks so much for the encouragement! I feel you totally on the almost overwhelming amount of work (not to mention cash) involved in opening any new venture let alone a bakery. Then there are the crazy moments plagued by self doubt about everything from my experience and education to the knowledge that I could very well ruin us financially if this biz gets mismanaged or even if the timing is just not right.

I, like you, have been kicking this idea around for years and in the past really knew that I had nowhere near the amount of experience neccessary to begin. I was also unclear about the products I would offer and the marketing for them. One day while I was back home in California I stumbled accross 2 great books by Linda Dannenburg: Paris Boulangerie-Patisserie and Paris Bistro Cooking and I immediately knew that this was the niche I had been looking for. I needed something that no one else was offering in our area and not just great products but a great destination for people. IMHO it needs to be a place where people want to hang out, not just a place to come get your brioche (although the brioche must ROCK).

I still have so much to learn but now realize that I will have to look for help in the areas where I am weak. My brother is a line cook in Sacramento, CA and he may relocate here if I ever get it together. He would bring lots of restaurant knowledge that I lack having been private all these years. I need to educate myself on neccessary equipment, mass production (although I have done some) but the financing is probably my biggest hurdle right now. May I ask if you are looking for a biz loan or will you have investors?

It is still in the planned fantasy stage for me but I would love to keep in touch with you and see how things are going in your journey. Best of luck!
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