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making a come back ,Don't sell out,live life

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

      If your looking to rent a retail space know deals are still good out there .Let me tell you all about it .

      Started about two mths ago when I decided that I would go back in business again after having  a shop for 7yrs the best thing and the most challenging thing  I have ever did in my career I started a wholesale & retail bakery well when the market for the housing started to effect everything .It hit me that I had to do something .I built up a good business with 16 employees and sales almost $800,000.Its like everything in life you want more.

      So it started over getting a call one day from a sales men working for another very large Baking company well, long story short the large company became one of my largest clients with over 1900 accounts daily .We started things in stages(as another bakery was supplying to them and they were not happy with there performance) first I got some 1/4 of accts to see if we could handle the volume As i had already built up my own client base, within a  month we had half ,then in 3 mths we had it all I thought this couldn't come at a better time as hotel ,restaurants ,country clubs were ALL slowing down in payment 30day turned into 60 plus days some going out of business and not getting payed but the new customer was paying every 7-14 days great for cash flow .

       As time went on they ask what do you think about merging together as one I thought about it for a long time going back and forth about certain things well we did it ,this was a company that was in business for over 50yrs my thought behind it all was that they would support me in a way of growing the pastry they had Sales staff (20),40 trucks etc.. knowing there was still so much of there customer base that still did not have pastry sales well after being with this company for just about a year they decided that they would change things up with my product line like danish for example we made it the old fashion way with butter and did our own folds( the best) well we were up to about 120 plus slabs every 4-6 days they contacted a company out of Canada to make the slabs & the snails .

We started with the  product the owners wanted and I wasn't a fan but remember that is what I signed up for to listen to a boss again 3 owners all brother at that they would play with the butter percentage to get it to look the same but a lot cheaper but to me the taste just wasn't there anymore because the butter went down to 10-15% way to low if you want to taste butter.

      They got pallets in and also a long story short the customers were pissed off and started to drop off (do to the different flavors ) that would also effect there bread business they had for over 50 plus years

       It's to bad they only look at the bottom line  money! Don't get me wrong I want to make money but I also want to feel great about what I put out just increase the price for quality .So I could go on and on with more stores but i just want to say to all Pastry Chefs ,bakers,keep doing what your doing because believe me there is no machine that can do what a true pastry maker can do.

      I'm still with the company as I travel and go to the Key West,Naples,Orlando,and most of south Florida ,sounds great but when you love what you do everything else just look,feels like life is just passing without a purpose or meaning  yes the one great thing out of all this is I have more time at home most nights and weekends off ( really un heard of in this industry) but again the trade off in this industry ?? I have seen alot at a young age (I just turned 37) business open,close,marriages falling apart,divorce but I can say this I didn't just dream about it I went after it "that is living"because you step out of your confort zone .

      So as I have been looking at new locations again it is interesting first place was $8 per sq ft and 1 mth free rent wholesale ware house after looking around  more I decided I would go retail again but a great location better than the last place I had and yes it is true location ,location- pay a little more and you will have a better chance as more customers are pulled in by other businesses

      Well retail jump to $18-83 per sq foot depending on were you want to be. I like the $35 dollar range but it don't stop there ,their is cam to pay another 5 - 9.75 sq ft and more in some places well I really like one location but it needs a build ( around 25,000.00 better than the last one 198,000.00)out I looked around and found another place just down the street already built out the funny thing it  is as soon as I new that there was another location I started to negotiate better so I have been back a forth for almost two mths to include build out cost ,more free rent I have landed just for not rushing 8 mths free rent and in a very busy plaza I do have one other location that I am also looking at.

        At the end of the day just be true to your self ,are you happy and if not change it because no one will do it for you even if it is in baby steps.You have one chance in life there are no do overs.

remember think like pennies you make pennies

think like dollars you make dollars

getting late will talk more later hope you like talking real life.

Edited by pastryev - 5/11/11 at 9:02pm
post #2 of 13

Please, please please, don't take this the wrong way, but could you go back and edit your post? I'm going cross-eyed trying to read it!


I think it's just a fact of life though that in this industry, there will always be people trying to cut back, and save so much money that the product suffers. It's sad but true, but it's sometimes what the customers want. I vaguely remember hearing about an experiment that proved that consumers preferred a product that was greatly inferior in quality to one which was of a much higher quality because people had grown to love the inferior one.


Personally, I think it's hard to find places that do things 'right' (like you mentionned, turning danish dough, made with the right quantity of butter) that actually pay a half decent wage... but, hey ho!



Want to see what I'm getting up to at college and in my spare time? Check out my blog or feel free to recommend one you think I might like!
Want to see what I'm getting up to at college and in my spare time? Check out my blog or feel free to recommend one you think I might like!
post #3 of 13

Punctuation, pretty please?

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feed back . I'll try to do better not to run everything together .So much in side I would love to talk about

I just like to talk about the real things that happen in this industry to see what is going on at all stages & ages .

I looked at about 3 more places and will settle on one come next week .Talk later have to go take the mother-in-law out for Mothers Day lunch.


post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks just in a rush the other day

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

                 Hope all is well with everyone can't sleep these days knowing I am getting another place together .The lawyers are making last minute adjustments to the lease .

                As I wait alot of loose ends to finish up like Getting Menu's ready ,food cost complete for all items that  will be sold ,phone numbers,brochure,

new bank account,business cards,shirts designed,chef coats,hats,packaging,web site,work with the sign company,get final drawing to contractor,Get with the CPA on Billing,inventory,taxes ,and to do a budget on all overhead expenses to make sure we are selling everything at the right price ,get with credit card processor, among other things .

                Have to go talk later


post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Got the Keys  to the new location after  2 mths of negotiating ,Again for the first time ever I used a lawyer cost   $1500.00 would have been $2500.00 guess it's nice to know people .

The lease was crazy it was 32 pages long my last lease was only 8 pages that is why I used a lawyer this time.There was major things that needed to come out or revised thanks to the lawyers going back and forth I am feeling good on the choice of location & the deal made  ,when it was all said and done i got 9 mths free rent up front and some renovations to be made.Not bad


Just remember at the end of the day its your money .


just started moving in the paint, and things I had from storage will try to post some photos on the process .


Why I talk about this. It's  because I was a Dreamer 15yrs ago I was good at pastry. but did not know if I  could make it in my own business ,I did 7yrs  Now after a year and half going after it again .

For those that are Dreaming take steps toward making a dream come true don't wait because  time is something that you can not get back.  Good Luck

post #8 of 13

Thank you for sharing your experiences! And thank you for the edit, it was a much more easier to read.


I'm always curious, has it fulfilled that "entrepreneurial itch"? Or does that itch never go away? (I mean "itch" as in that consuming desire to always to do more, constantly thinking about business, etc.) What type of products will you be selling?


Have fun - it's sounds like you are having a blast! Thank you for the inspiration.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply .Sorry I have been busy to get back to the reply.


I think the "itch" never goes away if you are always pushing your self to be the very best you can be .


         As you stay in the World of  Pastry  and you work for different places like in hotels,county clubs,restaurants ,on your own ,whole sale production.the one thing no one tells you in the beginning is that your  pay is not  good in the beginning.But you love what you do.The one thing I did for my self was  made sure I could back up my mouth and the other thing was I didn't want to be a pastry chef people could not look up to or go to for help so I put a lot of time in practicing & really working my skills  around pastry.One thing I wanted and that was to be well rounded Pastry Chef so I was a cake decorator for years ,then made bread few years,ice cream,Donut maker,chocolate chef , pasta maker ,as it all  was great some places I was in charge of the pastry area( so you work work work no time to play around or experiment) but was only me until I went and started to work for a larger corporations.My first really big job as a Pastry Chef was  at a county club that had 8,000 members ,7 restaurants and catering that feed up to 2000 people.


         When I came on  they had 2 people in the pastry department and was buying most pastry's in .So I took all the places I worked for  and as the mths & yrs went on I unfolded everything I knew  and the chef supported me as I built a team of 12 we were doing show pieces,buffet production,restaurant desserts So then I was approached with a offer from another country club as they are all so competitive.


         This is when I stop negotiating what I deserve and learned the value I deliver so I negotiated the position I was now making more money so that I didn't have to work two jobs to make ends meat never looked back till know to share with someone else .


         In the new shop my main focus is wedding cakes & birthday cakes but I have gone a little further and will have Tea time once a day serving high end pastry & tea's as well as offering Jazz,Poetry reading and a few other things though out the week at night as well as offer late night desserts ,just checked in to getting license for beer & wine  I just took photos will post soon.


         This was a little longer than I wanted but I wanted to share how it all builds up over the years as they do go by fast . After looking back from when I started till know I fell at the time of my life I want to do pastry again the way they were meant to be full of joy,love,fulfillment,passion,pride .


          Last thing start what you want now as time waits for no one ,take baby steps first and  before you know it your living life as you designed it. Don't worry if you fail, start again (remember when you rode you first bike or drove for the first time ,you never gave up everything is a process so don't lose site of the vision.Go For It.








post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

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Here Are some photos that I have been talking about will post more later


There is so much to talk about .will post when I have more time .


Dream Big & go for it.




post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 



Here is a few photos I took of my work


I did at the opening of the Joe di Maggio children hospital


post #12 of 13

Very nice,

You, my friend, must have some deep pockets!!!

I've out grown my space. Not 1 extra inch. I can't seem to balance with price increases VS COGS. I'm up 14% over last year. But my food cost has

increased 11% with the price increases. I can't see any other result but going backwards in a year or two.

I am about to pull the trigger on a convienience descision. I'm taking a space a few doors down to move production there. I'm looking at 28.00 SQ. FT. + triple net.!!!

No risk No reward!!


Are you open?  Are you doing any breads?


post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

       No deep pockets here  but I stop doing everything under the sun for everyone that was not profitable so that I could focus on things I enjoy make money  .


       So you are up 14% from last year (this is good) BUT  it is increased by food cost are you really up ? (either you need to raise prices"part of good business" or set different selling amounts example if you were selling by 1# set it at 2.5#  ,maybe just look at the menu you are doing and stop doing things that is taking your time up(labor cutting & inventory control money saving areas ) sometimes it is hard to make changes but just remember at the end of the day  its your money and your in business to make money to stay in business.


       As far as the space goes are you doing retail & wholesale or just one and not the other because today there is a lot out there .It sounds like it is a retail location and if it is a few doors down the landlord should be willing to work with you at little more.


      Good luck, Just remember doesn't matter  your number ,the thing to ask am I profitable because you could be making  100,000.00 in business but if your selling pricing ,labor cost is off and not careful with were your money goes  before you know it you could be unbalanced and that is not good for all the hard work you are putting in .


Work hard on the numbers as well as the pastry that is what will last for years .


      Again good look .

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