Can't Decide To Stay Open Or Close Studio..

Business By cakeschmake Updated 21 Sep 2011 , 3:38pm by leah_s

cakeschmake Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 5:05am
post #1 of 20

I'll try to keep it short but here is my situation;
I've had my studio for almost a year now and nearing the end of my lease, I can't decide if I want to stay or not. Hubby's no help and says its my decision icon_cry.gif

I'm licensed to work from home so I do all baking/decorating there. The studio is in our small town's downtown area and I use the space to meet for consults and customers pick up there too. My biz has increased alot over the year and love having the space. Before I was driving all over the place for meetings and hated having people in my home for consults and pick ups (busy family, 3 kids, etc) The studio made me feel and look like I was more of a professional, since around here there are lots of illegal home bakers!
I found that my original plan to be "Open" for a few days for walk in consults didnt work, not much traffic coming in, plus now I'm too busy with orders each week to spend time there. Its all done by appt now.
I'm having trouble with the location its not a high traffic area although I like the atmosphere of the historic downtown district I'm in. I also hate some aspects of my particular space that the landlord isnt going to fix.
I hate writing the check for rent and utilities! I can always do it but sometimes seems like so much is going out!!!
Still finding that most of my business is coming from the larger surrounding cities, only a few new customers are local.
I also dread going back to the old ways of driving all over for meetings, etc!
I"m really torn as to what to do next. Currently looking for a cheaper, better office but don't think it's going to happen around here, so I feel like if I want an office I am stuck at this location.
Also, I'll feel like I'll be seen as just another failing business when I close the shop cause the locals will not bother to notice I'm actually still in business!

So there it is! Any advice?? icon_biggrin.gif

19 replies
Annabakescakes Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 5:45am
post #2 of 20

Can you save the money you spend and maybe fix up a room of your house that is OFF LIMITS to your family? Put a sign in the window of the studio saying that "Business is Booming! Moved to a new location!" and your phone number. See if you can just rent the window area fora month after you leave, if they don't want the sign there.

Maybe try to negotiate a lower price for the rent and utilities in exchange for fixing it up the way you want it on your own dime?

IDK....HTH a little....

scp1127 Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 5:56am
post #3 of 20

Don't look at it as a failure. This sounds like growing pains to me. My biggest mistake in business was not making a change when I should have. It's ironic that I am sharing this now, but I had a really nice construction company and I was a sub for seven developments in and around DC. On 9/11, 2001, it all changed. My perfect schedule became too much work one week and not enough the next due to buyers canceling and renewing home contracts in this area. Our clientele was a majority of people originally from the Middle East, as much of DC new home buyers are. They were afraid of us and we were afraid of them. It was a sad time for all of us. I am sure they were very unsure if this was the right place to raise families in those days and weeks following the tragedy. In time, most of the families chose to stay and I will always feel that was testament that the healing process had begun. Because my business had made so much money before this and I was responsible for 21 families that would lose Dad's income, I hung in there. I should have bailed right then. My little company was not capable of weathering this storm. In May of the following year, eight months later, I gave up. In that eight months, it was the only time I ever lost money. Emotionally, I couldn't let go even though I knew I needed to cut my losses. Ironically, after all of that huge loss of money, when I quit, it only took about two weeks for a price negotiation and we were back in business. It took me years to get financially over that huge mistake. And the moral is, it was based on emotion even when I knew the correct business course.

cakeschmake Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 6:01am
post #4 of 20

Thanks for the reply.. I love the idea of the sign!... even if its just for a few weeks until I officially get moved out of the studio the way you worded it is perfect!

I really wish I could fix up some space at home, its just simply too small, there is no extra space LOL

When I first moved in we renovated the space in exchange for rent... the current unfinished remodeling was new windows/door that was actually paid for by the city and left unfinished and ugly on the interior. They received a grant to fix up the town and moved on to other buildings instead of finishing mine! Landlord has hinted for us to finish it up but hubby says no way, it nearly wore him out the first time. Its an older building and the heat and air is poor, ants drove me crazy all summer and I found a bat in there last week, also the spiders are outrageous!!! Thats what I get in exchange for the already cheap rent lol! I may ask about lowering it but its the cheapest in town already.

cakeschmake Posted 12 Sep 2011 , 6:08am
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Don't look at it as a failure. This sounds like growing pains to me. My biggest mistake in business was not making a change when I should have. It's ironic that I am sharing this now, but I had a really nice construction company and I was a sub for seven developments in and around DC. On 9/11, 2001, it all changed. My perfect schedule became too much work one week and not enough the next due to buyers canceling and renewing home contracts in this area. Our clientele was a majority of people originally from the Middle East, as much of DC new home buyers are. They were afraid of us and we were afraid of them. It was a sad time for all of us. I am sure they were very unsure if this was the right place to raise families in those days and weeks following the tragedy. In time, most of the families chose to stay and I will always feel that was testament that the healing process had begun. Because my business had made so much money before this and I was responsible for 21 families that would lose Dad's income, I hung in there. I should have bailed right then. My little company was not capable of weathering this storm. In May of the following year, eight months later, I gave up. In that eight months, it was the only time I ever lost money. Emotionally, I couldn't let go even though I knew I needed to cut my losses. Ironically, after all of that huge loss of money, when I quit, it only took about two weeks for a price negotiation and we were back in business. It took me years to get financially over that huge mistake. And the moral is, it was based on emotion even when I knew the correct business course.




Thanks for sharing that! I worry that closing the studio will give the wrong impression to customers. And it is more of an emotional attachment to it than anything. I wanted this studio so badly and was so proud that I took the chance and did it

johnson6ofus Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 2:58am
post #6 of 20

I am a landlord, and I rented an apartment to someone for "office" space. In his case, he just needed space for 9-5, with lights and AC. Because it wasn't for "street" traffic and appointments only, the neighbors never knew. I think he was an engineer.

It was A LOT cheaper than "office" space.

Just a thought, although not as professional a presentation as a commercial space.

scp1127 Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 3:49am
post #7 of 20

johnson just gave me an idea. We own commercial property also. We have a small space that isn't rented. With the volume of commercial property in any city, I'm sure there is plenty whereever you live. I know that if someone wanted to use it as a tastings spot, just the front room, we would probably rent it for a trade for corporate gifts or a minimal rent. If we ever did get a renter, we would have to give 30 days notice. Now, obviously, we don't need a trade because we also own the bakery, but think of the potential for an insurance agent, CPA, or physician. It would be a great trade for unused space.

salokin Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 7:10pm
post #8 of 20

If your business is going well, why not just move into a commercial kitchen space with room for consultation(?) and pick ups. Unless, you like baking from home.

hsmomma Posted 15 Sep 2011 , 1:03am
post #9 of 20

Co-rent with somebody. A good friend and wonderful photographer and I found a beautiful space and we co leased it. She has an area for photography and I have an area for cakes. Then we have a seating area that either of us can use for consults. Works out perfectly. It's lots of fun when we are there together too.
We split the rent and utilities and each have our own liability policies.

Annabakescakes Posted 15 Sep 2011 , 5:09am
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by hsmomma

Co-rent with somebody. A good friend and wonderful photographer and I found a beautiful space and we co leased it. She has an area for photography and I have an area for cakes. Then we have a seating area that either of us can use for consults. Works out perfectly. It's lots of fun when we are there together too.
We split the rent and utilities and each have our own liability policies.




That is so cool!!!!

cakeschmake Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 9:38pm
post #11 of 20

Thanks for all of the suggestions...

I would love to share a space so I'm looking for someone now. That was actually my original idea when I first opened because my sister is a photographer. She's is not quite as ambitious as me, though and I couldn't convince her to join me, so I went at it alone icon_smile.gif She ended up having to move away for a year anyway for her husband's work and just returned, so she's trying to get back on track LOL

I wouldn't dream of taking on the overhead of a full commercial kitchen, not when it's just so much better baking from home!

Still trying to decide what to do and I've got an offer to rent an office from a local spa/tanning salon, not sure if I like the location though.

So many decisions!! Thanks for the support, it really helps !!!

Annabakescakes Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:29pm
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeschmake

Thanks for all of the suggestions...

I would love to share a space so I'm looking for someone now. That was actually my original idea when I first opened because my sister is a photographer. She's is not quite as ambitious as me, though and I couldn't convince her to join me, so I went at it alone icon_smile.gif She ended up having to move away for a year anyway for her husband's work and just returned, so she's trying to get back on track LOL

I wouldn't dream of taking on the overhead of a full commercial kitchen, not when it's just so much better baking from home! Still trying to decide what to do and I've got an offer to rent an office from a local spa/tanning salon, not sure if I like the location though.

So many decisions!! Thanks for the support, it really helps !!!




OMG! I HATE HATE HATE working from a home kitchen! I converted our garage so it is sorta like home, but better. I don't foul up the kitchen, take over the dining room table, and I can still get supper on the table at a decent hour with out having to drop everything and clean up.

I just drop it, as it, and come in and cook. I can shut the door on it and not be bothered and I can go in there, shut the door, and let DH deal with the kids, lol!

I also don't have to drive to get there, I am not out all night, and I get to be a mom and wife still, instead of the sour puss at the kitchen table sitting in a mess while the baby sticks his dirty fingers near the cake.

Plus, there is so much room to spread my junk all over the place and to organize it as well. Before, I would have my DH looking in 2 rooms of the basement, in the cabinets, in the dining room, and all over to locate my caking items at 4 in the morning!

cakeschmake Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 7:36pm
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes


OMG! I HATE HATE HATE working from a home kitchen! I converted our garage so it is sorta like home, but better. I don't foul up the kitchen, take over the dining room table, and I can still get supper on the table at a decent hour with out having to drop everything and clean up.

I just drop it, as it, and come in and cook. I can shut the door on it and not be bothered and I can go in there, shut the door, and let DH deal with the kids, lol!

I also don't have to drive to get there, I am not out all night, and I get to be a mom and wife still, instead of the sour puss at the kitchen table sitting in a mess while the baby sticks his dirty fingers near the cake.

Plus, there is so much room to spread my junk all over the place and to organize it as well. Before, I would have my DH looking in 2 rooms of the basement, in the cabinets, in the dining room, and all over to locate my caking items at 4 in the morning!




That is what I would like to do eventually; convert a garage or have a separate kitchen at home. You have my ideal set up, and for those reasons too! It's hard to have a working kitchen when everyone wants to come in and scour for food leaving their dishes behind or have me wait on them!! icon_cry.gif Right now we don't have the extra space, but I'm looking into moving into a larger home.

That brings up an entirely different scenario: Do I uproot the entire family just so I can have more space to run my business? We really do need the extra space for the family too, but the 3 kiddos are very comfortable in our neighborhood and schools. I wonder if it is fair to them?

Annabakescakes Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 11:46pm
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeschmake


That is what I would like to do eventually; convert a garage or have a separate kitchen at home. You have my ideal set up, and for those reasons too! It's hard to have a working kitchen when everyone wants to come in and scour for food leaving their dishes behind or have me wait on them!! icon_cry.gif Right now we don't have the extra space, but I'm looking into moving into a larger home.

That brings up an entirely different scenario: Do I uproot the entire family just so I can have more space to run my business? We really do need the extra space for the family too, but the 3 kiddos are very comfortable in our neighborhood and schools. I wonder if it is fair to them?




Yes, it is fair to them! They will make new friends, and they will grow and they will leave. You will still be there, and your DH, if you are married. It is your job to love them and care for them, but there comes a time when you need to make hard decisions that will be for the best in the long run. Just because you have kids, it doesn't mean you have to cater to them! Stuff "sucking" is part of growing up! You do the best you can, and if you can live in the same neighborhood, that's great, but if you can't, you need to do what is best in the long run. You can offer them a better quality of life in a bigger home with a separate kitchen. But you will be happier too.

cakeschmake Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 2:27am
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeschmake


That is what I would like to do eventually; convert a garage or have a separate kitchen at home. You have my ideal set up, and for those reasons too! It's hard to have a working kitchen when everyone wants to come in and scour for food leaving their dishes behind or have me wait on them!! icon_cry.gif Right now we don't have the extra space, but I'm looking into moving into a larger home.

That brings up an entirely different scenario: Do I uproot the entire family just so I can have more space to run my business? We really do need the extra space for the family too, but the 3 kiddos are very comfortable in our neighborhood and schools. I wonder if it is fair to them?



Yes, it is fair to them! They will make new friends, and they will grow and they will leave. You will still be there, and your DH, if you are married. It is your job to love them and care for them, but there comes a time when you need to make hard decisions that will be for the best in the long run. Just because you have kids, it doesn't mean you have to cater to them! Stuff "sucking" is part of growing up! You do the best you can, and if you can live in the same neighborhood, that's great, but if you can't, you need to do what is best in the long run. You can offer them a better quality of life in a bigger home with a separate kitchen. But you will be happier too.




You're right!!! I had to move a few times as a kid and while it "sucked" I lived through it! LOL
I even think my own kids would handle it better than I did to be honest.... DH and I have to think about what is best for the entire family icon_smile.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 3:05am
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeschmake


Yes, it is fair to them! They will make new friends, and they will grow and they will leave. You will still be there, and your DH, if you are married. It is your job to love them and care for them, but there comes a time when you need to make hard decisions that will be for the best in the long run. Just because you have kids, it doesn't mean you have to cater to them! Stuff "sucking" is part of growing up! You do the best you can, and if you can live in the same neighborhood, that's great, but if you can't, you need to do what is best in the long run. You can offer them a better quality of life in a bigger home with a separate kitchen. But you will be happier too.




You're right!!! I had to move a few times as a kid and while it "sucked" I lived through it! LOL
I even think my own kids would handle it better than I did to be honest.... DH and I have to think about what is best for the entire family icon_smile.gif[/quote]Exactly! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif We moved every year when I was a kid, the longest I ever lived anywhere in my life was my last house I rented, lol. 3 years, 7 monthsI highly DON'T recommend moving that much, but they will survive, I did!

scp1127 Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 10:32am
post #17 of 20

I got divorced when my kids were little and I got their childhood house in the settlement. It was a big old colonial that we had restored. I loved it. I hung onto this monster with all of its work for ten years until they started moving out. I finally sold it. They were so happy. After all of those years they told me it looked haunted, creepy, there were possibly robbers and murderers in the basement and attic... all of those years of sacrifice. And it didn't help that it looked like the Amityville house, complete with the eyes. Plus they said it was too big to help clean. So much for the kids' childhood home.

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 12:13pm
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I got divorced when my kids were little and I got their childhood house in the settlement. It was a big old colonial that we had restored. I loved it. I hung onto this monster with all of its work for ten years until they started moving out. I finally sold it. They were so happy. After all of those years they told me it looked haunted, creepy, there were possibly robbers and murderers in the basement and attic... all of those years of sacrifice. And it didn't help that it looked like the Amityville house, complete with the eyes. Plus they said it was too big to help clean. So much for the kids' childhood home.




lol! Poor kids, good imaginations! I remember getting SOOO creeped out by our basement, especially the back part of it. It was hard to get to with all the junk piled in the way, and it was barely lit. Oh, and the front part too, lol. I remember HATING the stairs, the kind you can see through the back of. I was convinced someone/something was going to grab my ankle! icon_surprised.gificon_cry.gificon_redface.gificon_rolleyes.gif

SO glad we moved from that one, we lived there just over 2 years..

Janiepie Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 3:07pm
post #19 of 20

I totally understand your issues! I baked out of my kitchen for 2 or 3 yrs on the side. I knew I had to do SOMETHING. My kitchen and dining room were always a wreck! SOOOO.... I jumped. We bought an aluminum building 14' x 24' and put it in our backyard. Husband finished inside. Counters, 2 regular stoves, and a fridge. LOVVVVVE IT! Now I don't have to worry about people coming in my messy house, or my dogs meeting them at the door. AND I can run back and forth to the house while cakes are baking. Should I give it up one day, I can sell the building and equip one day! Good luck on your decisions!

leah_s Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 3:38pm
post #20 of 20

Having recently decided to close my wedding cake biz and having opened a food truck, I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am. I'm now baking what I want, when I want and the events are popping up in my mailbox, asking the truck to attend. No more brides, no more no-show appointments, no more chasing payments, none of it.

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