I am seriously considering a bakery as a career... and it just so happens a rather large cake shop is for sale in town... quite pricey but they have a pretty decent business from what I can tell from being around this town.
Anyways.......... I just would like to know people's opinions, pros and cons and start up costs, etc. Any advice?
I have thought about this myself...but before you invest - if you decide to do that, I would call your local Dept. of Health and get reports of that bakery's last inspections - you want to be sure that it is in compliance with the latest laws and health codes. You may also want to get a pair of expert eyes to examine the equipent, piping, vents, property, building, etc before you potentially get stuck.
I would invest in a business that is already established, think of all the advertising money you will saved if peopel already know about this business. Make sure you see financial statements before you sign on the dotted line. Plus it might be cheaper and easier for you to purchase the established business think of all the equipment would you need to buy. Good luck!
I have also considered an exhisting business, but their product wasn't great so I would have had to work extra hard to improve the reputation.
A bakery is not a one-person operation. In order to be profitable, you have to have lots of product and staff.
Consider whether you are prepared to be an employer-
interview and hire staff
payroll and other expenses
very, very long hours.
what is your competition?
why are they selling?
how many staff do they have?
how long have they kept the same staff?
you also need enough capital to pay your overhead (rent, utilities, insurance, payroll, taxes, etc) for several months, while you re-establish the customer base.
Have they given you a reason why they're selling? Seems that would be a good question to ask.
Running a bakery is not an easy business. Check out the pastry and baking forun on egullet.org If you do a search on there you will find lots of threads on the realities of owning your own bakery.
One person even kept a running blog for the first year of her bakery(still not making a profit even though she's had many write ups and featured in a major magazine).