After being unable to find a kitchen to rent, I've been doing research on the start-up costs of opening my own. What I'm wondering (and haven't been able to figure out yet) is whether or not you can rent any commercial space for a shop, or does it have to be retail space? What got me thinking of this is the show Amazing Wedding Cakes...the Cake Atelier (sp) is this space up a few flights of stairs in a building in NYC...more of a cake studio than a bakery. Obviously the kitchen/health dept regulations will still apply, I'm just trying to figure out if that is a feasible option.
Has anyone out there started out with "office space"...I can find that for a much lower price than retail space. I'm not even sure how to research this...I've been unsuccessful so far.
You should start by asking at your city's planning and building approval department. They will be able to talk to you about zoning and where you can have commercial premises, whether they have to be zoned for specific things etc.
NB It would be VERY expensive to install all the required plumbing and electrics to a retail space. Personally I would be looking for an already fitted out restaurant, coffee shop, small commercial unit (doesn't have to be a store-front) set up for some kind of food prep to save all that expense...
It would be very exensive to "build" a kitchen into a space. I recently stumbled on a space that is already equiped as a kitchen. It was a deli at one time and there is some equipment already included...3 compt. sink, hand wash sink, mop sink, & refrigerator. This will really help me out since I will only have to get a few more things to get it running.
I would recommend looking for a space that is already equiped and approved as a kitchen. You'll save yourself a lot of time and money! Also, I wouldn't want to be on a 2nd level. I don't want to have to carry cakes down the stairs for delivery.
You might want to email Lori Vreeke. She set up her own shop from beginning to end. She is from CA so she could probably give you some insight into what she went through in CA. Her CC name I believe is Vreeke. She is giving a lecture at the 3C's cake camp on this subject.
Thanks for posting this topic. Coincidentally, I'm hashing thru the same thing myself.
For several reasons, I decided to license my kitchen last year and work from home instead of a storefront bakery. But it's a juggling act to book bridal consults here and shoo the DH and kids, etc. Plus storefront would mean too much away-time from my kids for me.
I've driven by this nicely remodeled carriage house office bldg. that's been empty for a year near our town center . I called the rep about possibly leasing out one of the small offices to do consultations in so that clients don't have to come to my house. Went to see it yesterday, and the galley kitchen and eating room were more perfect than the offices (and just as nice!). I can't create cakes there, but it would be perfect for consults. I asked the rep to see if the landlord would be willing to rent me the space for a limited time each month. Two Saturdays from noon to 6pm, and I can offer those times for the bulk of my meetings. She doesn't see why not, and she'll get back to me next week.
Storefront will hopefully be an option someday, but this unique idea may just give me enough breathing room for this certain part of my business for now.