For those of you who have store fronts but do your baking elsewhere., do you feel it has been worth the added expense. I have an opportunity to rent and office space in an old unique building in a bigger town that I have been trying to break into the market at. The rent is really reasonable and they are willing to let me use the front window and lobby to display my wedding cakes. I was just wondering how much success you have with yours. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
I've never heard of someone having a store front and then baking somewhere else...
I'd be interested to here if there are people that do that? Seems to me like you would be paying double rent.
Anyway, I'm interested.
Actually, this is something I have considered for the future. As it stands, I would prefer to stay home-based (for the convience factor), but I would love to have an office space to conduct tastings, meet people and as a place to showcase my work.
I bake on-site at my store, but I can tell you that my window displays garner LOTS of attention. I do really dramatic cakes for the window... no wimpy plain white cakes... they all look alike anyway. I use lots of color and make them sometimes 6-7 tiers.
don't just tease us...show us the window!
I have a commercial kitchen on my property, so I don't have to pay additional rent for the kitchen. Just my expenses. The reason I am seriously considering this option, is because I have to travel to meet my brides, (condition of permit for kitchen is no-one can come to my house, have to deliver everything) it might make more sense for me to rent this office space and have them come to me. It's more centrally located to where I will be doing most of my business. And with the price of gas and the distances I have to travel to meet with my brides for consultations, the expense of renting the office space might just be a wash.
My main concern, is that since I won't be able to be at the shop all the time, will that have a negative effect on customers. I would have a sign up " by appointment only".
Anyone out there conduct there business this way. How is it working?
chutz, I SO agree with you on the value of a big display window! I keep track of my sales as (1) cake-only (2) food-only (3) cake and food. My Cake-Only sales are double what they were all of last year already ... and I contribute it entirely to this window.
cascades, I moved into this location as "appointment only" and as far as I can tell, it's not been a negative. When I AM in the shop, I turn the sign to "open" and my appointment-only sign has a section about ".....if I happen to be here, then come on in!"
It's not unusual to have office space for appt only. I mean, doctors and lawyers operate their entire business that way!
It's hard to say if it's worth it--that would depend on what it's going to cost you. But my window is a great marketing tool for me. I see people all the time looking in the window and admiring the cakes. I have some pretty fun fondant cakes. I need to put more in but just haven't had the time. I'm also just a block or so from the courthouse, where you have to go to get your marriage lisence. I just had a gal call me today who drove by the shop on the way to get her lisence. I have my phone number and web site in big letters in my window.
For me the down side is the sun fades my cakes and it has been a real pain in the neck to come up with lasting displays. I think I'm going to resort to painting my cakes. I tried on like that and it's the only one that's held up.
vickster, you are so right about the fading! I just noticed on one of my cakes that the green leaves have faded to yellow. And being that it's a yellow-iced cake, it looks pretty bad! It's one of my favorites so I just HATE to scrape it and do a do-over!
vICKSTER, DO YOU HAVE AWNINGS TO HELP PROTECT FROM THE SUN?
(Sorry... cat on keyboard)
I have also painted cakes so they last. Doesn't bother me a bit to do this.
Can you put a uv protective film on your windows? It is available in clear or very lightly tinted and works just like car window tint. It is easy to remove later with just a razor blade. This should help the colors last a lot longer. I work in the flooring industry and we recommend it to help keep carpeting from fading.
My shop is in the "historic" (chuckle) downtown district and they are giving out Main Street USA minigrants for exterior improvements. I've applied for one to have awnings installed, which I'll find out about middle of next month. I'm holding off to see if I can get that grant money. It's going to cost about $3000 for awnings, which I think are absolutely worth it, but until hubby gets out of nursing school (December) I'm avoiding any unnecessary large cash outlays. Plus, if I end up having to pay it all myself, the building is badly in need of a paint job, which for now would take priority over awnings.
Seems to me that what you need is office space, not a store front.
Thanks for the input ladies. I guess I am going to have to make a decision pretty soon, but I found out today that the window I thought I could have to display my cakes is not available at this time. I can still have the office space though. Rent is really cheap for this area (350) a month. So I don't want to let it pass. I was so hoping for the window though to display my cakes. The restaurant next door is renting the lobby of this old historic building for occasional overflows from his restaurant. Mainly occasional small parties. He doesn't want to give it up. I was thinking maybe I should approach him myself and see if we can work out something. He doesn't use the window space and maybe I can move my stuff out if he has something booked. It might be worth a try!