Wendy, first I want to say thanks for your very valuable input. This is definitely a person to person industry and it helps to know I've got truly great support in all the wonderful people in this forum.
I haven't actively sought people/places out yet. Right now, I'm dabbling to see where my specialties are. So far cheesecakes and mousses. The higher end stuff holds more interest for me and at the same time seems like it could have more profitability. I also find candymaking (chocolates) intriguing. I've played with truffles and wanted to test out chocolate buttercreams, but my wife put us on a diet, which has delayed things a bit.
My neighbor, who gets the brunt of my experimentation, is connected to a restaurant and caterer, so she seems like a likely inroad. Her mother owns Coopers in Gilberts and the one on Randall in Lake in the Hills (I think) and she also expressed interest in my desserts "whenever I'm ready."
So it's all an encouraging start. I've also noticed there are some really low quality bakeries in the area, which also fueled my fire a bit. But I haven't really roamed the marketplace for a couple years now, so who knows what's out there now.
Another idea I had hoped to take a stab at was online sales. I've been dabbling at Web development on the side (so much to do, so little time).
So many ideas running through my head that it's hard to pin them all down, but I do realize the other point you made: profitability would be tough. Rent at some small local storefronts prices out at near $4000 a month, plus utilities. That's an awful lot of cheesecakes to sell!
Thanks again for all your help.