KellyMorgin Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 3:28pm
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Just reading some threads as usual and noticed not very many people are happy with their new business after a few years. Id love to read some comments on success and happyness with opening a storefront i know its hard work but is there any joy? Not to be rude at all i'm sure you get where i'm coming from.

38 replies
BrandisBaked Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 4:23pm
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ASnarkybaker is having great success. Don't know if she posts often anymore though.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 4:40pm
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AA retail storefront is a very different business from a custom, by appt only cake decorating shop. If you open a storefront there are three paths you can take:

1. Recruit and hire a trusted business manager to run the business side while you focus on cake decorating 2. Hire help on the cake decorating side so you can run the business side 3. Handle everything yourself and eventually burn out

It's easier and cheaper to hire cake decorators than it is to find a business manager, so if you don't enjoy the business side and you can't find a business manager you may not be as happy in a storefront.

liz at sugar Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 5:08pm
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I think it depends what type of storefront you will have.  Will it be like an old fashioned bakery, where the cases are filled with ready to select items, and a menu of "custom" cake flavors for customers who just want to pick up a cake for a dinner party, or will it be a modern bakery where you are taking orders for 3D and custom cakes.  If it is of the "old-fashioned" variety, there will be lots of repetitive baking, and not too much creative work or distraction.  If it is of the "modern" variety, you will be spending more time on the creative side, and not as much on production work.

 

What kind of storefront are you thinking of?

 

Liz
 

Godot Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 6:53pm
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AI have a storefront. Seven years now and I still love it. I did, however, go into business with my eyes open (knowing, unlike most, it seems, that about 15% of my work week would be actual decorating).

That said, I love my job - it's the customers I hate.

Annabakescakes Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 7:36pm
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A

Original message sent by Godot

I have a storefront. Seven years now and I still love it. I did, however, go into business with my eyes open (knowing, unlike most, it seems, that about 15% of my work week would be actual decorating).

That said, I love my job - it's the customers I hate.

Absolutely! I hate customers. That is why I have stuck with my commercial kitchen, I only have to deal with about 8-12 people a week, and see about 4-5 a week.

IAmPamCakes Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 7:46pm
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AHA! Godot, that is how I feel! Customers suck sometimes. Ideally, I want counter people if I ever open a bakery. I'll be in the back baking. I know I will have to serve my time up front, but hopefully not for long!

MimiFix Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 7:58pm
post #8 of

I started as a home-based business. After two years I moved to a retail store front. I loved (loved!) the baking and enjoyed managing a business. There were certainly stresses, and I have stories, but overall it was a good fit for my personality. Not everyone is suited for the daily reality of operating a high-stress business. As Godot mentioned, it's important to be cognizant of what lies ahead.

 

After ten years I got married, sold my business, and we moved to another state. My new husband (retired cop) thought it would be fun to own a bakery. We started up a new shop and it was fun for me, but not for him. He hated everything about it and was not keen on customers. He always said, "In my former job the customer was always wrong. Now they're always 'right'." We worked together for five years, until I realized that if I didn't kill him our marriage would end in divorce. I still miss my beloved bakery, but we'll soon celebrate our 25th anniversary.  

kaylawaylalayla Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 3:47am
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ASee that is something I don't get. Why do you guys hate your customers?

IAmPamCakes Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 4:59am

AHave you ever worked in retail Kayla? Customers don't always suck, but the memorable few for me were some of the most awful, conniving, greedy people. People think customer service is such an easy job, and it generally is, but I have been yelled at, talked down to, manipulated, & in one super-awesome instance, threatened to be sued. Over a cheeseball.

jason_kraft Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 5:10am

AI don't think people really hate their customers, it's just that the bad customers tend to be far more memorable than the good ones. I enjoyed working with the vast majority of my customers, and it was a great feeling to hear how much they loved our cakes. Remembering the customers who are appreciative helps get you through the difficult transactions.

Of course it also helps if you enjoy verbal sparring. ;)

Godot Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 5:30am

AIt is true. Most of our customers are so nice and normal. It's the freaks and the a-holes one tends to remember.

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 5:42am

I have some of the most wonderful clients, and then I have 1 who threatened to sue me over a bee flying around her car. It didn't even sting her. And another who stole a 22" plateau worth $200, and this was before I got deposit checks!! And another who asked for a $600 cake, and had a $150 budget, then complained it wasn't as grand and gold as the one in the picture she sent (duh! We did discuss it wouldn't be, and she asked me to proceed) And another who didn't return my castle set, so when I went to cash her check, I found out the account was closed for over a year. And then there are the people who call on a thursday, for a cake for Friday, and want a 5 tier cake to serve 35 and have a $25 budget.

Godot Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 5:49am

AGeezy peezy Anna. Why can't you understand that you are personally responsible for the deeds and actions of any and all insects entering your property. Is that so hard to understand? Is it?

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 5:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot 

Geezy peezy Anna. Why can't you understand that you are personally responsible for the deeds and actions of any and all insects entering your property. Is that so hard to understand? Is it?

I know, right? My neighbor would probably agree with you, as would most of them. They ALL have their lawns sprayed for weeds but we have a bee shortage so April and May my yard is a glorious yellow blanket of dandelion, and then we get the "puffs" for a few week while go to seed, and I see True Green out there spraying and spraying on both sides of me. Then the rest of the summer, I have a beautiful white lawn covered in clover. And yes, there are bees. We keep the front mowed, for my clients, but there is just a stray bee here and there out front, but nothing out of the ordinary. But in the back, there are masses of them. And we all have been stung once, except for my husband, who is waiting his turn. icon_twisted.gif

kaylawaylalayla Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 6:03am

AYes I do work retail. All of my jobs have had service elements. It is hsrd to go out there and smile, sometimes I woukd just rather be producing. There have been a few costumers that havebrubbed me thebwrong way or down right pissed me off. But I love the customers. Without them there is no business, I need them. I don't like to generally hold them in disdain (is that even how you would say that? ) I understand to get frustrated and maybe be skeptical too. But I just don't thinks its good business to go in hating your customers (not that any one here does that, even if you do hate them after they leave lol).

liz at sugar Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 1:10pm

When you have done this long enough, you will grow to hate them. icon_biggrin.gif

 

This weekend we had a four top come in our restaurant to eat.  While the rest of the party was being seated, the gentleman asked if we had a washer/dryer.  I said yes.  He asked if he could bring in his WET BEACH TOWELS, and would I dry them for him???  They had been at the lake all day, and they are damp and chilly.  So I say, "SURE, bring 'em in" trying to be a nice hostess and go above and beyond.

 

So this dingaling brings in his ratty towels, and then wants everything at his table discounted if he asks for an ingredient left off.  "Won't you take off some money if I don't want cheese?"  "How about if you leave off the meatball, then will you discount it?".  Harassed the server all night with that BS.  And the answer was the same every time - no.

 

Of course all of our employees got a big chuckle out of these idiots, and another table even asked a server "why is that girl giving that table towels??"

 

There is no shortage of customers who are jerks, takers, and general PITA's.  Don't worry, you will get your share.  But a lot are very nice people who don't suck out your soul. :)

 

Liz

Godot Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 1:16pm

APeople are so effing ignorant it hurts my soul.

They probably only gave a two dollar tip - and ran the waitstaff ragged.

liz at sugar Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 1:22pm

I didn't hear what they tipped, but they did run her ragged.  And I'm guessing they just didn't want to use their own electricity to dry their towels.

 

As they say, "no good deed goes unpunished".

 

Liz

MimiFix Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 1:37pm

Enough about customers! Is this a good time to mention the issue of employees? 

Godot Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 2:16pm

AI have been so lucky with my employees! Loyal, greatwith customers. I know they'll do the right thing when I'm not there.

I also know that I'm a great employer. I'm not lenient at all - I set extremely high standards for myself and others.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 2:45pm

ARetail is so different from by appointment.

I used to want my own little bakery. Now, I realize I just wanted the cute/pretty shop.

While I do field some outrageous emails or phone calls, for the most part I really enjoy my clients. It's a more personal business.

There will always be a few Bridzillas I will never forget, but most of the ones I remember are the greats!

morganchampagne Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 2:56pm

AI think as some of the others mentioned its about how realistic and how prepared you are. I think that most ppl think they're gonna open up a bakery and all they really want to do is hang out in the back and decorate all day. WHICH IS FINE. It's just not realistic for owning a business..at least until you can get a team around you. Luckily for me I have a business manager so I am able to focus more on cakes and what I love

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 4:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot 

People are so effing ignorant it hurts my soul.

They probably only gave a two dollar tip - and ran the waitstaff ragged.

I feel the exact same way. People kill me, they really do.

KellyMorgin Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 6:25pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 

I have some of the most wonderful clients, and then I have 1 who threatened to sue me over a bee flying around her car. It didn't even sting her.

I just cried laughing! 

KellyMorgin Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 6:29pm

I'm waiting it out for three years to get all of my ducks in a row first, potentially i would like to have a cute little 900 sq ft shop by appointment only, and be able to leave my day job. 

KellyMorgin Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 6:31pm

I cant say i HATE customers but i can say the bridezilla's get on my damn nerves!

jason_kraft Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 6:31pm

AA customer of a home-based business being injured in or around the home (by a trip/fall, bee sting, dog bite, etc.) is actually a serious concern, and is another good reason to have business liability coverage. If a customer is injured and your homeowner's insurance provider finds out it's related to a business they could potentially deny the claim and you would be on the hook for the customer's medical bills.

jennicake Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 6:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

A customer of a home-based business being injured in or around the home (by a trip/fall, bee sting, dog bite, etc.) is actually a serious concern, and is another good reason to have business liability coverage. If a customer is injured and your homeowner's insurance provider finds out it's related to a business they could potentially deny the claim and you would be on the hook for the customer's medical bills.

Can/do people actually sue for things like bee stings?!  Maybe I'm oblivious because I'm in Canada, but its terrible if that sort of thing actually happens!  How does one control nature?

jason_kraft Posted 8 Jul 2013 , 7:00pm

A

Original message sent by jennicake

Can/do people actually sue for things like bee stings?!  Maybe I'm oblivious because I'm in Canada, but its terrible if that sort of thing actually happens!  How does one control nature?

In the US anyone can sue anyone else for any reason. A customer who is allergic to bee stings and ends up in the hospital would have a hard time proving that the homeowner was negligent, but if you had only homeowners insurance and no business coverage you would probably still have to pay for a legal defense out of pocket (which may or may not be reimbursed if you win).

Something like a customer slipping on an icy sidewalk you failed to salt is more along the lines of something that could be considered negligence and result in liability.

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