Is A 500-600 Sf Shop Even Possible?

Business By SugarFiend Updated 5 Oct 2010 , 2:02am by SugarFiend

SugarFiend Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 2:50pm
post #1 of 12

I've been going back and forth with a possible storefront space for the past several weeks (which has been a total soap opera in itself), and now I find myself wondering: Is the space just too small to bother with?

I realize that you no matter what you start with, you end up using whatever space you have, and still want more. I think this is true of any space you occupy for any reason (houses, closets, handbags... icon_lol.gif ).

The space I'm primarily considering is between 500-600 square feet, which seemed fine to me, since I would be the one and only employee. Located in an "artisan village", the foot traffic is very seasonal - so my production of walk-in items would be limited to non-existent, depending on the season. During low season I would probably be by appointment only. I was not planning on having seating other than a small spot that would be suitable for consultations.

I have drawn up a tentative floor plan, and it's quite compact. For instance, I have planned for an upright cooler, but a 2- or 3-door worktop lowboy freezer. My current needs for a freezer are so small, even that seems like overkill. (But hey, that leads me to another minor question: Is a worktop freezer stable enough to hold a 20 qt. Hobart?)

So I'm reaching out to those of you with storefronts. How small is just too small to start? I would be required to sign a 2-year lease. Has anyone out there worked with a kitchen this small?

Thanks in advance for whatever comments you may have...!

11 replies
indydebi Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 3:20pm
post #2 of 12

Just to give you a for-instance, my sq ft-age was 1150 and 50 of it was restroom. I had it split about 60/40 in kitchen/front area, so in round numbers it was about 650/450 sq ft. The front area was office, consultation, dummy display and equipment storage. As a caterer, I had equipment that you won't have to allocate room for (chafers, 400 plates, 2000 pcs of silverware, misc catering serving dishes, etc).

As a caterer, I probably had kitchen equipment that you wouldn't need (6 burner stove, veggie prep sink, deep fryer) that took up a bit of my kitchen space.

I had a square SS table just for my 20qt and the mixer was actually bolted to the tabletop to reduce/prevent vibration movement.

I had a walk-in refrigerator and a 2-door freezer and I always wished it was the other way around. Buying foods in bulk that needed freezer storage (this was mostly catering stuff), freezing cookie dough balls, baking 2 to 4 wedding cakes ahead and freezing ....... I REALLY wish I had had more freezer and less 'frig space.

I have seen some VERY nice shops that were about half the size of what I had so I will say that yes, it is possible, with careful planning.

(you can't have too many SS shelving units! thumbs_up.gif )

littlecake Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:41pm
post #3 of 12

mines about 900....but i could do it in way less if i had to...there was a woman in the next county that did it in about 400.....there was a woman on there a couple of years ago who managed in 350.

i don't have anything for walk ins...they get used to that after awhile...

bakingpw Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 5:43pm
post #4 of 12

That amount of space seems fine. Pastry Chef's usually get allocated to much less space than that. The secret is in layout/convenience and flow. Have your dry goods across from the mixer, use wall space with slat walls to store/hang, bins under the table, etc.

Also, never put the 20 Qt. mixer on the freezer top. Those mixers "walk" right off a table! Use an appropriate heavy gauge S.S. table and non-skid under each foot. Years ago, a 20 Qt. walked right off a table, barely missing my 15 year olds ankle.

SugarFiend Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:11pm
post #5 of 12
Originally Posted by bakingpw

Also, never put the 20 Qt. mixer on the freezer top. Those mixers "walk" right off a table!

Yup, I had my KitchenAid nearly walk off my countertop while I was kneading bread a couple of weeks ago... So I didn't really expect a favorable answer to this question - but MAN, was I hoping!

Thank you all for your input! It's very encouraging. icon_smile.gif

Jeep_girl816 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:36pm
post #6 of 12

A gal in my area just opened a coffee and cupcake shop in my area out of one of those tiny drive through coffee stands, has her fridge, oven and everything in there and she's taking wedding and specialty cake orders too. Makes me wish I would have though of it!

Robertbakewell Posted 30 Sep 2010 , 12:58pm
post #7 of 12

I started my cake shoppe in under 600 square was prob. closer to 500, i fit in a cooler, a freezer(commercial) two curved glass cases, a work table...small three bay sink, two rolling racks and all other was trying at times to say the least, but the rent was affordable, it was quaint and inviting...and i moved across the street a year later when a building went on the i live above my work and my wifes boutique is housed next to my cake shoppe....

jammjenks Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 5:44pm
post #8 of 12

I just gave my contractor blueprints back for a 625 sq. foot cake shop on our property. I don't cater, so it seems like plenty of space to me.

icingimages Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 3:02pm
post #9 of 12

To better visably look at it, get string and stake it out on your lawn to see how big things really are. Sometimes on paper it is hard to tell. Or if you can go in to the space, lay out a string design of how it would look and space out.

SweetArt Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 4:11pm
post #10 of 12

My kitchen is 375 sq feet. You can see pics here:
I like it. I've started adding shelves on the walls though. You can never have enough shelves!
I defiantly wouldn't go any smaller for the 4-6 cakes (mostly weddings) a week that I do.
I think you could manage in 500-600 with a small front area and bathrooms.

indydebi Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 4:32pm
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by icingimages

To better visably look at it, get string and stake it out on your lawn to see how big things really are. Sometimes on paper it is hard to tell. Or if you can go in to the space, lay out a string design of how it would look and space out.

Although be aware it will look much smaller this way. when we were having our house built, the footprint looked way too small for the house that was going to sit on it. (Also, we learned years ago that when selling a house, leave some furniture in it because empty rooms look smaller.)

SugarFiend Posted 5 Oct 2010 , 2:02am
post #12 of 12

Wow - 375 square feet! I'm impressed!!! I never would have thought that was possible.

When I first visited the space, it seemed like PLENTY of room. Then I started in with the floor plan, and suddenly it didn't seem all that big anymore. After leaving extra space here and there in case my dimensions are off or if something needs more clearance or whatever, it left precious little space for me to add a shelving unit here or there (which I'm sure will be necessary...)

If all of you can do it, I'm sure I can do it too! Thank you for all your input!

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