Cake_Mooma Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:09am
post #1 of

July 1, 2009 was one of the happiest days of my life. I picked up the keys to what would have been my dream shop. Since then, we have worked night and day, blood (really cut myself with a utility knife, got 4 stiches) sweat and tears (cried toooo many this week) and anything else you can think of.

Well then we get to January, 2010 and things are still where they were in July, paper still on the windows, doors still locked all day.

I was opening in the city I grew up in, which is something I went against my gut feeling. My parents live there and I was opening the shop with the help of my parents so I was trying to meet them half way. I live half hour away so for them it was going to be hard to travel my way everyday. Plus city money is usually better anyway.

There is so much "Red Tape" in this city that all I have been doing these months is trying to cut through it.

So with all that said after ALL the money that we invested, my dad and I and my husband we can't open the shop. The plumber was the last person that needed to come and get work done, but with sooooooo much time that has passed we have run out of money so he can come in and work. So we spent all our money on getting ALL these permits that kept poping up and in the meantime paying bills, rent and so on that the money that was there for this work to get done is all gone now.

I am so heart broken. All I keep thinking is how my dream just slipped from my hands. Now I am left with a broken heart and empty poket and nothing to show for it. I have learned a few leason from this whole experience but I am still broken hearted.

That is all ladies and Gents. I had no point to this just wanted to vent and cry. Thaks for listening.

Vic
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LL

43 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:16am
post #2 of

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. Since you're almost done, have you looked into small business grants or loans? Or maybe bartering the work, if you could afford the fixtures? Maybe there's a plumber in the area whose daughter is having a sweet 16 or getting married and needs a cake, and you could do a trade?

Don't give up when you're so close to your dream!

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:17am
post #3 of

We're here for you and listening. Vent away.

Cake_Mooma Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:21am
post #4 of

just wanted to add some more pics of the shop.


Vic
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Cake_Mooma Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:24am
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. Since you're almost done, have you looked into small business grants or loans? Or maybe bartering the work, if you could afford the fixtures? Maybe there's a plumber in the area whose daughter is having a sweet 16 or getting married and needs a cake, and you could do a trade?

Don't give up when you're so close to your dream!




I have tried all the grants and loans and nothing. They all take so long to even have them look at them that I can't keep up with the rent and bills at this point.

I have a plumber that is willing to take a down payment but LIke I have mentioned the money just isn't there any more.

We have had to pay for soooo many permits/fees that no one could have thought of....we had plenty of cash when we started but this is nuts.


Thanks for "listening" ladies.

Vic

WykdGud Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:48am
post #6 of

Would you consider an investor? Perhaps another family member? Or there are networks of "Angel Investors"... someone who will help you finance, and you pay them back. If you are so close to opening, I don't know why you'd have a hard time finding someone willing to help - especially since you've invested so much of your own money already. Or perhaps you can get a loan (lien) on your equipment that you can repay?

Just throwing some ideas out there...

Sorry you're experiencing this, I can't imagine how much stress you must be under. I hope it all works out for the best.

Brandy982006 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:52am
post #7 of

Oh man, I am soooo sorry. I just can't wait to open my own bakery (I work for a bakery right now) but reading what you posted kind of scares me. I want to open a bakery in a bigger city (our town is pretty small) but I know it will be harder and take more time...I know the permit people have more on their plates than a little ol' bakery opening up. I love the look you were going for...very inviting. {Hug}

patticakesnc Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:52am
post #8 of

I could not imagine stopping at this point. What is the likelihood that the landlord would work with you on a months rent or two to pay the plumber? You have put so much into his building and he would have to let it sit until it rented again. I think you should at least talk to him and see what he can do in order to help you get open. This way if he gave you two months free for now, once you get open maybe you could afford to pay him extra for a few months to repay those months. This way if nothing else you could do the down payment for the plumber.

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:54am
post #9 of

I was thinking the exact same thing. Talk to the landlord. Something sooner as opposed to nothing for several months may make the landlord understanding.

kandyc10 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:29pm

You can't give up now. I am sure it feels hopeless, but like my dad always says:"Nothing worthwile comes easy". The blood, the tears, it has got to lead up to a VICTORY! Do your venting & crying and get it all out, then take a deep breath and figure this out. You CAN do this!

_Jamie_ Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:42pm

Oh hell no, you can't get this far and quit. There has to be something. Like someone else said, an investor, a sugar daddy (ok maybe not that, nevermind), making an arrangement with the landlord...something!!!! Please, don't quit!

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:03pm

I was going to suggest (like WykdGud and others) to seek out an investor if all other attempts to secure funding has not come through for you. You CANNOT get this close and not open shop. You just can't. There has GOT to be a way to get that plumbing work done and inspected. Will he let you make payments? (I am a business partner and we occasionally make exceptions to our strict payment terms to help someone with limited options/funds.) Your shop is just lovely, by the way! We won't let you give up, because we believe in you and your dream! icon_smile.gif

jillmakescakes Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:26pm

i'm so sorry you are so close and feel so lost.

Definitely look into other options.... talk to a big business and see if they can finance you in exchange for cakes for corporate events for a certain numbr of years!!!!

Also, and I know that this is asking a lot, but would you mind sharing a few of the things that you've learned or would have done differently for those who find this thread and what to know what pitfalls to avoid.

cakesweetiecake Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:53pm

Oh my! The pictures are beautiful. Dont give up! You've come this far! There has to be a solution to this!

dldbrou Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:57pm

I would try Bartering with anyone and everyone to get this finished, Check into small business loans for woman and minorities. They tend to be more open to lending money for businesses. Investors is still another good option. And lastly write to one of those television shows that goes in and finishes up projects to get you on track.

luvstoshop Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:01pm

I agree ask the landlord we own rental property we had
a girl who wanted to put in s beauty shop but could not afford
all of the building of the work areas,electric,plumbing and so on
so in renal agreement we agreed to pay to have it done so every
month she pays extra on her rent to pay us back..
Hang in there CCers are here for you!

Kellbella Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 8:45pm

Yes, hang in there! Lots of prayers comin your way too!! thumbs_up.gif

KoryAK Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 9:51pm

DO NOT QUIT NOW!!! I DO have a shop so I feel your pain, but you are SO CLOSE! Try all the great ideas the pps suggested and if they don;t work come back and we will give you more. And I'll probably get flamed for saying this out loud... but skip whatever permitting and official crap you can get away with. As you can see, it will tie you up and kill you. I was a by-the-books girl but I'm glad I opened my shop with my husband because he said "brown people don't do it that way" (he is Peruvian, so it was ok to say lol) and that we were going to do it the brown ppl way. Made life a helluva lot easier. Besides, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission icon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 10:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

DO NOT QUIT NOW!!! I DO have a shop so I feel your pain, but you are SO CLOSE! Try all the great ideas the pps suggested and if they don;t work come back and we will give you more. And I'll probably get flamed for saying this out loud... but skip whatever permitting and official crap you can get away with. As you can see, it will tie you up and kill you. I was a by-the-books girl but I'm glad I opened my shop with my husband because he said "brown people don't do it that way" (he is Peruvian, so it was ok to say lol) and that we were going to do it the brown ppl way. Made life a helluva lot easier. Besides, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission icon_smile.gif




He is right you know. It all works out in the end, so what's the big deal. I'm too American though. icon_wink.gif ...but in this case, I would do what I had to do if I was this close. Be dang some red tape. icon_twisted.gif

Cake_Mooma Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 1:08am

Thank you my CC friends. Today I talked to the landlord. He lowered the rent for us. I was paying $825 ( I know that sounds nuts, it was such a great deal), so he lowered it to $500. Which sounds good but that's $500 that I could be giving to the plumber icon_sad.gif

I have talked to the Center for Women and Enterprise, actually since things were looking bad in November I was talking to them in late November. The shop is in a "nice" part of town so all the money that the city has is for the: how do I put it; "underprivileged" side of town. Well I was really adimate about not opening in that side of town, it was not the type of customers that I was looking for and it can get a little "sticky" over there especially in the evening. Oh MY GOSH do they have money for that area, right of the bat they have $50,000 for the front of the building,

and permits are being handed out like if they were candy.....really when I was in city hall waiting in line the 3 people ahead of me all were getting permits for the "Main St" area and they were getting approved on the spot!!!! Me they tell me that I had to wait two weeks to get my CHANGE OF USE permit, mind you they said yes to the 3 people ahead of me. Really people give me a break!!!!! Well I got that taken care of and then they send in an inspector to tell me that I need to get the zoning dept to come and "approve" me for retail. Ah there is a shoe repair shop that also sells shoes, to my right and a thrift store to my left how much more retail is that, really. Ok that got solved.

That's the way it has been since about September. We fight one after the other. In the meantime we have started paying rent, electricity, gas, electrician and every thing else.

I know we were supposed to have the money we needed to open and then some and capital for a few months, Ahhhhh we did. But when we the city charges anything from $80 to $300 per permit and every few weeks there is a new permit, approval or something that we have to get your bank account shrinks very quickly.

Well everyone thanks so much for letting me vent again some more.

Vic

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edited to fix spelling errors icon_biggrin.gif

Deb_ Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 1:14am

It totally sucks and I'm sorry.

It's incredible how much capital it takes to start a business. I really hope you catch a break soon.

CakeForte Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 1:45am

You have enough completed to start subleasing your space to caterers and maybe another food service vendor, or someone that needs office space only. If they pay you a first and last months deposit...with a move in date 2 months from now....it could work.

Or rent office space to someone that doesn't need the kitchen at all, so they could get in asap. You said that your landlord just lowered the rent for you to $500...that means you pay $0 on rent.

Are you at another job right now? Just because you are out of money doesn't mean you can earn more.

mkolmar Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 2:40am

You can not stop now! That would be crazy. I have nothing to add for advice since you've already got a lot of wonderful ideas. Just know that we support you and to keep on trudging and you'll make it through.

CakeMommyTX Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 3:01am

What about a fundraising party?

Invite anyone and everyone you know, let them know the situation , have drinks, food and music and let them give to your cause.

A few bucks from a lot of people adds up quickly.

I would attend, I'm broke but I would round up some money for you quick, you've come to far to have it all end now.

Raffle off cake certificates as well.

You already have some where to have the party, no need to rent a hall or venue.

Print up flyers and post them at your church, work and neighborhood community center.

Just think about it, if you can round up 50 people and each one gives at least 25$ that's $1250 dollars.

Of course youd have to gets some snacks and refreshments, but a 100$ trip to Sam's will do the trick.

And you'll be left with $1150, that's 2 months rent and some change.

You could make it really fun, build a Money meter with your goal at the top and every time someone makes a donation during the night raise it up.

When it starts getting close to the top this will encourage people to donate more to see it reach the top.

I'm envisioning karaoke, a cake walk, cupcake eating contest and all kinds of fun games.

I know it would be mostly adults but games are fun!
Just and idea.

lthiele Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 3:03am

Wow Vic - this is really heartbreaking, it sounds like someone in your local Council / Goverment Office is really trying to make your life hard. I don't know if this is useful or appropriate to your situation, but we have something called the Dept of Fair Trading over here. That's where I would be headed in your situation.

It sounds like they are restricting your right to trade for whatever reason. My dad has 2 mobile coffee vans and just went through something similar. He sent a well worded letter, basically threatening action with Fair Trading and also legal action, and guess what - he was given a permit quick smart!

I completely understand when there's no money, there's no money all too well. But if your right to make a living is unfairly being restricted, it might be time to play hardball. Just a thought. (sorry long)

snarkybaker Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 3:12am

Okay, I am going to do things. The first is to tell you - Shame on you! You should have had a business plan and known what it was going to cost you to open the shop before you took money from your parents etc etc. You should have paid the plumber before getting a sign or that garden gate etc etc etc....but now that is water under the bridge and you will know better in the future ( BTW, you should never even consider opening a business without at least double the amount of money on hand that you are given in your first estimate, because it always just goes up....never down...ever!!)


That said, I think you should call your local paper, create a face book page, maybe a you tube video and have some sort of fundraiser. Just make sure it is publicized well....Have a " Hot cookie happy hour " or some other catchy named fundraiser. Send out an email press release to every paper and every local TV station with that little picture of you with your diploma and another with you and a plate of treats and tell your story in the most sympathetic way you can. DO NOT!!!!!!! say anything bad publicly about town hall. Remember that story in the NY times about the woman who made enough pound cakes to keep from being forclosed upon ? That's the kind of stunt you need to pull. I don't mean stunt in a bad way. I mean it in in an " Evil Kenevil jumping the canyon of debt kind of way".


You can do it....but don't do it again!

Cake_Mooma Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 5:17am
Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

Okay, I am going to do things. The first is to tell you - Shame on you! You should have had a business plan and known what it was going to cost you to open the shop before you took money from your parents etc etc. You should have paid the plumber before getting a sign or that garden gate etc etc etc....but now that is water under the bridge and you will know better in the future ( BTW, you should never even consider opening a business without at least double the amount of money on hand that you are given in your first estimate, because it always just goes up....never down...ever!!)




Thanks, I do have a a business plan. and we had All the money. But the city is such a pain. Inspections/permits that where not found on any paper keep poping up.

ok here is another one of the crazy things they made go threw.

I call the Code Enforcement dept. to see if I needed a hood with a fire suppression system. They tell me I don't know you need to call the fire dept. I call the fire dept and they tell me "are you going to be making Cannolli?" (exact words) I tell him no just cakes and pastries not including cannolli, sorry not big inthe spanish world. So he tells me no you are all set no hood. Great. Not so fast. The gas inspector comes in and tells me when are you planning on opening, at this point we had push it from Sept to Oct. So I tell him Oct. He tells me well make sure the hood is up when I come back to do you opening inspections. REALLY!!!!!! So between building permits, fire suppression system and hood and the labor hang on to your hats price tag $50,000 yup fifty thousand. OK so now what is left from the money we had for the rest of the stuf?

See this is the stuf that I mean. They just couldn't get their story straight. I know someone who opened there bakery and the ladies told me that because of all the inconsistencies it took her and her sister 2 years to open. WHo the heck has the time, money and energy to go through all this.

Snarkybaker, Thank you so much for the slap on the wrist, but trust me we had the money it was all there but with all this extra stuff no one would have guessed that we were going to need 10 times the amount. Again Thanks thumbs_up.gif I know that I shoudl have not only researched but researched more and more and more.

Oh another one. The zoneing. we couldn't get zoned for retail for a while. So I went to the Center for Women Enterprise and if it werent' for them advocating for us we would still be waiting for that. Again one of those things my dad and I went to city hall they sent us somewhere else and we saw 3 people with 3 different answers. You just don't know this town. It's really nuts. I can't even put my finger on just 1 situation. THer are some more issues that I can tell you about.

Thaks for all the great ideas I am going to bring some of these up to my family. Thank you all so much

Vic

indydebi Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 5:28am

These kinds of stories make me glad I used a contractor who was familiar with all of the requirements and handled that on my behalf. While I did have some surprises, none were this intense. Had I tried to do this myself, I'd STILL be trying to get open! icon_lol.gif

snarkybaker Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 5:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cake_Mooma

Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

Okay, I am going to do things. The first is to tell you - Shame on you! You should have had a business plan and known what it was going to cost you to open the shop before you took money from your parents etc etc. You should have paid the plumber before getting a sign or that garden gate etc etc etc....but now that is water under the bridge and you will know better in the future ( BTW, you should never even consider opening a business without at least double the amount of money on hand that you are given in your first estimate, because it always just goes up....never down...ever!!)



Thanks, I do have a a business plan. and we had All the money. But the city is such a pain. Inspections/permits that where not found on any paper keep poping up.

ok here is another one of the crazy things they made go threw.

I call the Code Enforcement dept. to see if I needed a hood with a fire suppression system. They tell me I don't know you need to call the fire dept. I call the fire dept and they tell me "are you going to be making Cannolli?" (exact words) I tell him no just cakes and pastries not including cannolli, sorry not big inthe spanish world. So he tells me no you are all set no hood. Great. Not so fast. The gas inspector comes in and tells me when are you planning on opening, at this point we had push it from Sept to Oct. So I tell him Oct. He tells me well make sure the hood is up when I come back to do you opening inspections. REALLY!!!!!! So between building permits, fire suppression system and hood and the labor hang on to your hats price tag $50,000 yup fifty thousand. OK so now what is left from the money we had for the rest of the stuf?

See this is the stuf that I mean. They just couldn't get their story straight. I know someone who opened there bakery and the ladies told me that because of all the inconsistencies it took her and her sister 2 years to open. WHo the heck has the time, money and energy to go through all this.

Snarkybaker, Thank you so much for the slap on the wrist, but trust me we had the money it was all there but with all this extra stuff no one would have guessed that we were going to need 10 times the amount. Again Thanks thumbs_up.gif I know that I shoudl have not only researched but researched more and more and more.

Oh another one. The zoneing. we couldn't get zoned for retail for a while. So I went to the Center for Women Enterprise and if it werent' for them advocating for us we would still be waiting for that. Again one of those things my dad and I went to city hall they sent us somewhere else and we saw 3 people with 3 different answers. You just don't know this town. It's really nuts. I can't even put my finger on just 1 situation. THer are some more issues that I can tell you about.

Thaks for all the great ideas I am going to bring some of these up to my family. Thank you all so much

Vic




My shop cost us nearly...wait for it....half a million dollars, and that's in North Carolina, not Mass, where most things cost double, so yes I can believe that a hood, which I have, costs $50,000. I know its a bit late for you, but I am going to post this for the benefit of other CCers. You should never even consider signing a lease until you have approved use, zoning, and plans from your town. Those things can take months. They told us that the average building plan would be approved within 10 business days. We had professional architects ( expensive ones) with 20 plus years of historic renovation experience and we got stuck in 6.5 month zoning fight with our town. Luckily, we had written into our lease that it was contingent upon zoning, and that we had 6 months rent-free to rehab the property ( 90 days is customary, but I knew we would need more since we had a 100 year old building)

FromScratch Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 4:10pm

Goodness.. I am sorry that you are in ths position. You can't give up when you are so close... beg borrow steal... get it done. All of your suffering... for naught??? No way.

We were toying with opening a little breakfast and lunch place a while back before the economy took a nose dive and before we even started with estimates we looked into the zoning and what it would take to get the change of use. You can't do too much before you "break ground". You learned this the hard way and there is no way giving up now is going to be productive. Did you have anyone professional helping you? A contractor or something like that? Someone who would have been familliar with everything that goes into this and would have been able to better advocate for you? Unfortunately going in a joe schmoe off the street can get you brushed off. Oh I don't know... go here... oh we don't do that... you'll have to go there. I can imagine the frustration.

But you need to find a way to get this done. For your sake... your parent's sake... if you don't then you will have squandered everything (and I know you know this, but sometimes it's good to hear). Time to stop feeling like a victim (and we all would feel that way in your shoes so I'm not picking on you) and find a way to make this happen. Don't let this snatch your dream out from under you. Use it to fuel the fire you need to pick up the pieces and make a name for yourself. (((hugs)))

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