I've been decorating cakes for approximately 5 years now. I have a fair amount of cake supplies, which the majority were purchased at the one and only cake supply store in my town; and the remaining percentage online. I have a business plan written to open a bakery, but revenue is a problem (startup costs) since I will be required to have a seperate building for baking (permit requirement), ovens, coolers/refridgerators, etc. Over this past weekend, I found myself driving 2 hours to purchase patchwork cutters for a graduation cake because the local supply store was closed (holiday weekend). It was a light bulb moment during this trip that "maybe" I should "first" put the revenue saved towards opening a supply store and then move towards the bakery. What do you all think? What would you do? Are there ample cake supply stores in your areas? Is there an influx of cake decorators popping out of the woodwork in your areas as well? My husband seems to be more onboard with this idea than the bakery. I need to make a move soon!! Honest opinions are welcomed.
This is something I have been wanting to do for years in my town. I live in Madison, Wi and the town is big enough to support more than one supply store. We have one that has been in business since the 80's and she is very successful so I know if I opened one up on the opposite side of town it would go over well. She also offers classes. If you have the money I say go for it! If i could write a business plan I would probably go for it, but I am too dumb to do that.
we have no supply stores in Charlotte metro area (unless you count Micheals) and yes decorators coming out of the woodwork.
LadiDi, I live in KCMO and there are TWO stores in the ENTIRE metropolitan area. Seriously!!! And both of them are in a suburb that is about 40 minutes away from me. It's very odd, though, that they are about 3 miles apart from each other!?! Anyway, my options are the limited items they sell at JoAnns (Wilton) or Michaels (Wilton) or Hobby Lobby (Wilton). If I want anything else, my choices are to make the 40 minute drive, which adds to costs considerably these days, or shop on the internet, which I do often. PLEEEEEAAASE tell me you are in Kansas City, Missouri!!!!
Where are you located? I have to order most everything. When I go to Orlando, 4 hours away I try to stock up. That is the closest store to me that has stuff in stock. I have a store about 30 minutes from me, but if she has to order it for me then why shouldn't I order it myself. I think it could definitely be profitable for you if you are in the right location and willing to stay on top of new trends.
Besides Joann's and Micheal's, we do have one small cake/candy supply store run by a lady that offers classes from beginning cake decorating to advanced gum paste. We also have a restaurant supply store that has a small section with cake decorating stuff like boxes, Fat Daddio pans, Americolor gels colors... I'm in southeast Idaho. But when I was in west Idaho, the nearest place was a Walmart's craft section or I'd have to drive an hour to Boise just for Micheal's or Joann's, or I'd order stuff myself.
The lady that runs the small candy/cake shop also has an attached kitchen/decorating area separate from her student decorating classroom, and she decorates for clients there. She has dummy display cakes in the store, and she does a very nice job. Very helpful if I'm wondering about a technique or anything.
Thanks everyone for your feedback. My number one strategy is to open my store on the very opposite side of town.
Sorry Dani1081, I'm in Indiana. MadMillie, waiting on orders that I placed with the owner here and then drive all the way across town to purchase it stopped making sense. Thanks to me having to drive 2 hrs away to the same warehouse the owner drives to for her supplies, owning my own supply store is closer to reality than ever.
m_will ford, I looked at a possible location yesterday that would work wonderfully for the supply store. I was also hesitant about my ability to expand out to open the cake shop portion but had the exact same idea. This location is within a strip mall and the adjoining wall has a door that opens up to the next suite. When time is right and unit is vacant, I could lease the aditional space for a trial run at it.
Thanks again everyone. I'm scheduling an appointment with SCORE and the SBA tomorrow. Not sure how all the DBA, tax and licensing requirements will work in IND should I move forward with this. I'll keep you all posted.
In my area, there are 2 stores about half an hour away from each other. Both of them sell cake decorating supplies (everything you could ever possibly want), they teach classes (really high quality ones) and they sell custom cakes. Both shops seem to be doing REALLY well. I think you should start with the are you really truly love and then there's no reason why in the future you can't add on selling the supplies or making the cakes.
My Mother in Law and her friend started Cake Create here in Indy back in the 70s. They had a warehouse for wholesale and several retail stores. They both eventually sold the retail stores (one of them is Mrs. B's in Speedway) and closed the warehouse. I have always told her she was WAY ahead of her time, because there are really no great places to go here in Indy besides Mrs. B's now!! Good Luck to you and much success, I know you will be quite busy!!
I don't want to hi-jack this, but I loved Cake Create in Indidana. I always went to 2 of the Stores, one on the south side and one in the Castleton area, when ever I was in Indy, all the way from Florida. You are so right about your Mother in law and her friend being way ahead of their time.
Back to LadiDi's original question, I think if you sell retail and on line, you would stay busy. You could carry the type of items that most people don't see everyday. Maybe teach, start a cake club, etc. It sounds like a lot of work and a lot of fun. I remember when I first started caking, I wanted so much more than the stuff at Michaels. What town will your store be in? Good luck!
Hello all. I set up an appointment with SCORE to get a mentor. Even better news is my cousin's fiance owns a chain of liquor stores here in Indianapolis and his partner has purchased a building that once housed a large department store here. I think I may have access (for a very small sum of cash) all the shelving and show cases I will need for my business. KaysKreations, it's good to know that one of the only stores in town that your MIL sold a fews years ago is still up and going STRONG. This adds to my confidence that I'm moving in the right direction. I'll post my DBA as soon as I get confirmation that it has been approved. The name that I have been using on my contact cards was a Groupon special last week; only with a different spelling. Hopefully, I can still use it. Retail and online sales are part of the plan; as well as on-site classes. Not sure if I would want to teach though. Thanks again for all the input. You are watering my confidence and I greatly appreciate it!!!
So did you ever open your store? I always go to Mrs. B's when I'm in town. If so, I would like to come to your store. Thanks!