Please Help, I Want To Open A Store Front.

Business By tonicake Updated 15 Sep 2008 , 9:37pm by drowsyrn

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tonicake Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 8:37pm
post #1 of 16

I'm sure it has been ask about a million times or more, but I can't seem to find it.

I am feeling the "pull or draw" to open a store front in my town. However, I am trying to think of everything I'll need for this. So, I guess I am looking for any one who has a store front to help with this.

I know my business will triple when I do this and will be able to hire some help. I simply want to buy the supplies (oven/display cases, etc.) I need to be productive and not go into total debt.

Thank you for your advise.


15 replies
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tonicake Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 9:52pm
post #2 of 16

Does any one here have any experience? I really need your help!!

Thank you!

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littlecake Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 10:50pm
post #3 of 16

hey girl!

people have opened up for as little as 5 K....and there are those on here who have invested 1/2 million.

oklahoma has been pretty easy for me, the rules vary from county to county, i know in wagoner county you used to be able to just use regular ovens and stuff...

i'm in muskogee county, i can' need to call your local health dept to see what you can get by with.

there is a really big used bakery equipment place down in talaquah, i bought a bunch of stuff from him.

i think in all of oklahoma you can do it from home if you build a separate kitchen.

i bought...
a convection oven
5 stanless steel tables
2 display cases
30 quart mixer
lil kitchenaid mixer
double freezer
and they are letting me use a home dishwasher
little fridge
triple sink
wash sink
mop sink
grease trap
cash register

good luck!

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KoryAK Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 11:01pm
post #4 of 16

Don't do it! I am, and its successful, but I'm a damn mess!

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littlecake Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 11:05pm
post #5 of 16
Originally Posted by KoryAK

Don't do it! I am, and its successful, but I'm a damn mess!

you need some sleep....poor baby

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funbun Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 11:06pm
post #6 of 16

Ok Kory, now you need to explain what you mean. Are you too busy? Overwhelmed? Let us know why you are a mess.

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tonicake Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 11:51pm
post #7 of 16

Thank you littlecake. That is exactly what I was wondering. I want to open in Edmond which is Oklahoma County. Right now I'm at home and not in any city limit so I have been able to do what I need to with what I have. However, I really want to see my business grow.

KoryAK, I'm already a mess, but I want to have a much BIGGER and better reason for it.

I want to separate my home life from my business. The only thing my children know is I live in the kitchen. My next move is to put a cot at the end of my counter. If I can have a place to close and go home, I can have my family time again.

Thank you to every one who has replied. I know there will be alot to do, but prayerfully it will be the best thing I could do for my family.


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chutzpah Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 4:09am
post #8 of 16

If you don't spend time with your family now while working from home, you definately aren't going to see them more when you are a shop owner.

If you don't have lots of start-up cash, you will go into debt.

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tonicake Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 2:13pm
post #9 of 16

I guess I didn't explain it very well about my family time. I want to separate the two - business and family. I want to be able to walk into my kitchen to cook dinner or what ever for family and go to the bakery to do my orders. I need to separate the two for my family.

I do spend time with my family, I just need my home to be my home, not my business at home.

Does that make any sense at all? It does to me.

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ziggytarheel Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 2:32pm
post #10 of 16

Just from what I've read on this website, many bakers with a store front spend most every waking moment there out of necessity. It takes a lot of cakes to pay the rent (and everything else). I've read lots of threads where the only "family time" is spent at the shop.

I think it would be very important to carefully count all the cost to be sure you will not be in that category.

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KoryAK Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 4:56pm
post #11 of 16

We do understand what you are wanting. And most of us with store fronts probably thought we would get it. And we didn't. I have a 9yo son whose ideal bedtime is 8. We leave the shop at 8:30-9 on average. Dinner is fast food or whatever we can cook up easily here (don't forget, still working), homework is here, bonding time is here. Home is for sleeping. We have been open since Jan.

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vanillabean Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 10:31pm
post #12 of 16

I think I understand what you are looking for. Are you looking for somewhere where you can get your work done without being interupted a hundred times. Somewhere you can concentrate, and answer a phone without someone tugging at you?

May I ask what your goal is for the storefront? Are you going to have walk-in customers? Or, do you want a "by appointment only" shop? If you have walk ins then you will spend a lot of your time making stuff just to keep in the cooler. There will be precious little time to devote to the really nice cakes.

There are so many things to think about, not just money wise.

Will you have any help?

Can you function and keep up taking care of your family when you don't come home until midnight or later sometimes, and then have to come in the next day at 6:00am to start baking again?

Is it okay with you to miss the school field trips, eating sit down dinners with your family, family weekends together, getting any rest?

What are you going to do with your kids when school is out, or when one of them gets sick?

Will you have someone to run the shop when you get sick or have an emergency?

What if you find out you cannot juggle it all, how long of a lease would you be commited too?

Then there are the financial issues too. There are so many things to think about. Rent, insurance, delivery vehicle, signs, advertising, permits, equipment, ingredients, cleaning supplies, utilities, paying employees, a bookeeper (unless you know how to do all the taxes, workers comp., etc), pest control, garbage pickup, fire extenguishers, plumbing, wiring, etc., etc., etc.

Sorry, I am not trying to scare you or persuade you not to go for your dreams, just please know that there are a TON of things to think about and plan for if you want the storefront. I did seperate my home from my work, or at least I tried too. But in the end I came back home and put my dreams on hold for a little while. My family is the most important thing to me, and I realized I don't want to seperate myself from them. I decided to wait until the my kids are older to get back in the biz full time. Even then, I think I would rather just have a commercial kitchen in my home and take customers by appointment only.

Just my two cents, whatever they are worth. icon_wink.gif

I wish you much luck in whatever you do! thumbs_up.gif

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Robertbakewell Posted 14 Sep 2008 , 11:42am
post #13 of 16

I found this place last night and find myself stuck on it....I will have to leave soon to help my husband downstairs in our bakery. If you want open a storefront you will be married to it. Its not easy finding good amazing help of 3.5 years just left for grad school in calif. I miss her icon_sad.gificon_sad.gif We opened our bakery for about 45K{the first one}
that was exactly 4 years ago. Its been a series of ups and downs...we were in a rented space for 7 months and then managed to move to this the building after 18 months here and we now live upstairs and have another shop next door to the bakery...I run a clothing store...which started out as a pottery...yes, i am a potter at husband is the baker. I can decorate a with alot of the duties in the back and forth between counters..mine and his..I am rambling, there is so much to say. Sometimes we ...well, most of the time we feel trapped..but what else can he do. We wish we could just do wedding and birthday cakes...but we have cases to fill with tarts, individual mousses, cannollis, appleturnovers, paris brest, eclairs, french fancies....all in total, about 50 different desserts....and its killing him, and me...we contemplate letting the cases go...but we are afraid we would lose our business if we just depended on orders. Did i mention we also opened another bakery retail storefront about 30 minutes away because after 3.5 years here business slowed down{recession}because we seem to have a great rep. We opened another bakery 25 minutes away over the border in the Berkshires Great Barrington Mass. {We took over actress Karen Allens space from Indiana Jones} GB is great...daily commerce...much better than the small village we are in but its really hard having one we have to deliver to do what you have to ....oh , also they are doing a dot project here on all the roads...that also killed business all summer...thank goodness for gb...sometimes i wish my husband just worked at some resort or was a bakery manager somewhere...when i get too tired or overwhelmed i often say "I am not a baker!!!" We get along really well even though we work together and are together 24/7 I could write a book!!!sorry if ive bored you all....if you are even still reading this. Owning your own business is usually not easy....but I think the food industry is one of the hardest....I also know my husband is amazing...he does the work of three people...we cannot find anyone qualified....any ideas on how to find some help? my ultimate advice to anyone wanting to open a cakeshoppe...keep it small...and managable. Unless you have amazing employees and amazing trade to pay for all the overhead including these employees you just wontmake it. gottta go....worktime!

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tonicake Posted 14 Sep 2008 , 1:15pm
post #14 of 16

Vanillabean - you raise some very good points and I appreciate that.

It does make a person think more about the whole store front, but I won't miss my children's field trips since we home school and they won't do with out. I will have very specific hours to be open and specific hours to be open for walk-ins that will limit the excess interuptions. When walk-in hours are over it will be by appt only to enter the store. It may be difficult for a little while, but that also will bring in those who truely want my product. I don't want people who are just there to waste my time. I have seen this done and it is possible.

My children have very set hours with thier school and are very good at working with each other on simple things after the lesson is taught. So, I don't worry about that either. When they are ready to go back to the Christian school, I'm fine with that as well. It is only 4 days a week and my day off will be on the day they have no school, just like now at home.

If one of my girls get sick or I need help with school, I have my sister and SIL who both home school. We are a very close family. My siblings and thier spouses are my best friends! My husband is also one of the greatest guys I have ever known. He supports me in every thing I do. I simply want to do the right thing by taking my cake business out of our home and put it a small distance from here. Besides, it's taking up so much of our home - office, cabinets, closets and garage.

As far as some of the other things you have brought up, they are very important as well. I'm going to take one issue at a time and work through it. That is the way I work my cakes and my life. Make a list and mark it off. I know I can do ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME! I believe that. I know that. Todays troubles are sufficient for today and I will be anxious for nothing. I believe that, because I try to live that.

Thank you all for your input, you are great!


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wjjo Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 7:37pm
post #15 of 16

I'm sure it exists somewhere, but it would probably be helpful to find a reputable source that provides a detailed line item budget for a bakery of the kind you want to open. One that shows all of the expenses you will incur so you can figure out what revenue you need to bring in to make it work. If you were at the point of having so much revenue out of your home that you could cover all those costs, then it seems like a reasonable time to consider the leap.

I don't know if craigslist is active in your area if so check out the business for sale listings (there are A LOT in this area, growing by leaps and bounds daily). You might be lucky enough to walk into a location that was going out of business (if they are, you might consider what you were going to do different to make it work) where you could take over a lease, buy equipment, etc for pennies on the dollar and have minimal construction/start up costs. If your town is small enough, you may well know who is and isn't doing well and could consider talking with them.

Drive a comfortable enough distance away from your house not to be a threat to a "local" baker who does the type of work you do and go into the store at a time that is not likely to be busy and be upfront about why you are there. Think through a list of questions you'd love to have asked. Ask about seeing their kitchen. You'll either get rebuffed by a total stranger or embraced by folks who want to help you out. Maybe make some good contacts along the way.

Consider sharing space or renting kitchen time (post it on craigslist and/or search for sapce) before you open your own place. Some people balk at the rental rates as being high, but they are nothing compared to what your costs would be if you opened your own place and had to pay rent for hours you weren't open (spending time with the kids) and all the other expenses that go with running a food service business.

If you can afford to rent kitchen space (paying when you need it) and still make enough profit to make it worth you while, then moving into your own space is a reasonable next step. An option to consider if you go down that path is finding someone whose interests and offerings complement but don't duplicate your own. You like cakes they like brownies. Share the space and the expenses and diversify what you have to offer folks.

Bear in mind, the economy stinks right now, which could work for or against you.

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drowsyrn Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 9:37pm
post #16 of 16

Hi gritswife,

I'm in Oklahoma County. I believe you are too in Edmond. Home business of any food type is not legal in Oklahoma County. I worked with the Health Dept for 6 months before opening my store in Midwest City. They are very helpful and tell you everything you need to know. Visit their website on starting a small business, a lot of good info there. I opened my store right under 11k. But the great part is that I got back 8k of it that income tax year!!

If you ever want to come to my store and talk, feel welcome!

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