AHello everyone, I need advice from fellow bakers and or bakery owners! Here's the deal; I just recently have been presented with the opportunity to open a space in one of my local malls food court. I produce several desserts such as Cake Pops, Cake Jars, Cookie Balls, Push Pops, mini cupcakes and more. I sell online, markets, crafts shows, festivals and other avenues. While I am not rich from the business income, I love what I do and have a strong following and more importantly have recurring customers. So you are wonder what's the hesitation? I am 26 weeks along in our fourth pregnancy, in which most moms know your rate of functionality can slow down. Our baby will be here January 8th 2015. The options I have are to open as a pop up shop with holiday themes and close at the end of December. Next option is to sign lease for continuing time frame with the understanding of maternity leave for month of January. Last option is to not open the space at all and see what the future holds. As far the rent goes it is $600 per month with utilities incl. Negotiated down from $750. Mall is a busy mall and even busier during holiday season. Goal would be to push the prime selling items as well as gift baskets suited for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanakah.
I am open to all thoughts, suggestions and opinions. I feel that I can do this and have prayed on it and thats all that should matter but I would really love to get feedback from you all before proceeding. Thank you guys for reading!!!
if i was 6 months pregnant i would find the most comfortable schedule possible for myself especially in light of the fact that i had three other kids to take care of -- no matter what their ages if they are still at home --
if i had someone else to stand there all day every day to sell the stuff and clean up and re-open in the morning -- the hours at the mall get extended for the holidays --
omg no way in hell is what i'm trying to say -- f no is what i really mean btw-- happy holidays
no srsly -- best to you but oh no -- i vote no no no
this subject has come up a few times in the past. i think most of the people on here would suggest caution. Malls are not the places people go to buy baked goods, in general.
if you have a good marketing plan that drives people to your shop, regardless of where it is, then you can survive, but relying on mall foot traffic is not a reliable marketing plan IMO.
Write up your biz plan for both options so that you can weigh the pros and cons of each.
Get 1 year of operating costs in the bank,
Include your own salary in the biz plan and negotiate the hell out of that lease INCLUDING month-to-month terms, so that you can walk away when you have to without ruining your credit. if it's come down $150 maybe it will come down more. if not, negotiate free rent and money for improvements. Negotiate for those anyway! Def want free rent when you're on maternity leave.
Do some research on retail leases. Get familiar with NNN, and percentage rent. Are those on your lease?
Contact your local health dept, just because it was approved for the last food vendor, doesn't mean the laws haven't changed, affecting that location.
Talk to other lease holders and ask them how it's going for them. How much marketing does the mall do? What are the busy days? What are the dead times?
My personal opinion is that a pop up will be exhausting, and perhaps not profitable Do you want that during the holidays and before you deliver?
Get that biz plan done and see what you think.
edited to ask* what if the baby comes a little early?
Ajust negotiating the parking lot at the mall while Christmas shopping is something to avoid/limit as you advance in your pregnancy but if you had to do it every day -- and after working/standing all day walking blocks away to your car after the mall closes -- carrying in ingredients -- washing dishes/floor end of day -- the work is SO physical
opening a business is like delivering a baby -- every day
[email protected] thanks for the reply. I should clarify thatI will have help to work the evening shifts and weekends. Our other children will be in school/daycare during the day. Also baking will not be done onsite for the first two months. As it is easier for me to continue the baking from my current location. Basically all items will be prepackaged as I have operated for last 3 years. Most beverages will be bottled. To the point, the space will pretty much be simple to maintain. Your vote is totally understood, especially from the mommy aspect. I appreciate it. BTW, you sound like my friend. I won't tell her that she has a another person in agreement w/her.
@ellavanilla-Thank you for your advice too. I have created a business plan for this venture in particular as well as done a considerable amount of research of this mall, current tenants, and visual visits since opportunity came to me. Lease will be month to month with no other fees associated paid to the management. I have considered working them down by another $100 as apart of the short term tenancy option. Did not mention that I have operated a prepackaged bakery trailer for the last 6 months and did pretty well but not as I would've liked due to few reasons mainly the laws changing on food truck parking and regulations. For future my business would be beneficial as a fixed location and also during the spring months to continue participating in the local community. The mall does a significant amount of marketing including social media. A press release would be done as well as other marketing methods to generate the holiday buzz. The agreement would include no rent for the month of January should I decide to continuance of on going tenancy. And lastly, yes my baby can come early as they are in control but I am hoping for the full 39 weeks. My other children were all to the scheduled date. But we never know! Thank you so much for the advice! :)
you're welcome, jp -- so you're going to maintain a presence in two different places -- never mind telling your friend that i vote with her i'm gonna tell her myself
AThere's no way that i would open anything like a new storefront the month before I was due to give birth. I'm the realist who plans for everything to go wrong so that if it does it's no big deal. But it sounds like you want to do it and are planning on it regardless. I'd listen to your friend, she knows you and your situation better than a bunch of strangers on a web forum do, and if she's saying don't do it I'd be inclined to listen to what she says.
As a Mother of a 5 month old, I'd say no way in heck. You might have forgotten about the two hour feedings, tiredness due to very little sleep (if any), constant gassy-ness, colicy symptons and the long time of own bodily healing afterwards. But I haven't. Every child/pregnancy is different, each time. How are you going to be there for your other little ones? You say nightime shifts, but have you ever worked food in the mall during the holidays? I have and it's super exhausting. Like giving birth every day..... (part time, night shifts).
This won't be your only opportunity to do so. I'd say wait and do events instead (if you really must). Another option would be partnering with whomever does the vending machines and sell that way. Would be so much easier on you.
Also, is the mall upscale? What other food places are there? Aunt Annies? Other competition? Your location will determine your customers too. Is there a Macy's or similar high priced stores near the food court? Can you afford employees? with taxes? Plan for if the baby comes early or you're under bed rest orders or emergency c-section or other complications?
If you really want do to it, do research now for the next season.
AA local high end bakery in my area opened a mall location about 3 years ago for 6 months. Now, I admit, I don't go to the mall a ton (I am an online shopper) but the couple times I was at the mall I never saw a single person buy anything. The problem was people don't go to the mall thinking "let's buy baked goods". Plus when I am shopping I don't want to feel fat from eating a cupcake.
At a large mall about 40 minutes North of me a bakery that was on a year of Amazing Wedding Cakes has a small space. It is about 4' x 4' x 4'. It is right when you enter the mall against a wall. It consists of a counter large enough for a cash register and small bag to hold your goodies and a small display case. The display case is 3 shelves tall and maybe 3' long. When the cupcakes are sold out the booth closes for the day - there are usually around 75 cupcakes in the case. I was at the mall last Saturday at 4 pm and half the cupcakes had been sold.
There is a reason edible arrangements and other type stores don't open in the food court of a mall. I just don't see it supporting that kind of food service.
If I saw a place selling cupcakes in the mall, I would investigate and probably buy cupcakes of which I love. Who doesn't love cupcakes? Cake pops not so much but cupcakes I definitely would buy!!! I would be in hog heaven and there are a lot of people that I know who would also buy them if they were in a mall. As for you being pregnant, that is a problem unless you have someone that will run it while you can not. Every newborn is different. My daughter had a baby who had colic for the first 4-5 months. The baby cried non stop and she did not get very much rest during that time. The baby now has gotten over that and things are better now for her. Good luck to you!! I hope things work out for you!!!
You seem like a real dynamo, jazzypetite! I'm just curious - How does your husband feel about this? Does he get a vote?
Jazzypetite, you maybe a dynamo, but those 2 last month of pregnancy when you plan to be really busy and 4th baby on the way, Oh my!
I baked 10-12 dessert cakes every week but when I got pregnant with 5th child 3 years ago I could only bake until 7th month of pregnancy and after my baby girl was born ( now she is 2.5 year old) I took a 4 months break.
I am very energetic and patient when it comes to baking but, what I have learned, is no matter how much energy, encouragement and willingness to work you have inside of you, your pregnant body will only handle a little a day.
And I am married and have 5 kids.
And like Mimi, said how does your husband feel?
My, husband doesn`t want me to go to bed later then 11:00 pm, he waits for me when I finish and always reminds me: "You don`t need and you don`t have to bake."
@ellavanilla-Thank you for your advice too. I have created a business plan for this venture in particular as well as done a considerable amount of research of this mall, current tenants, and visual visits since opportunity came to me. Lease will be month to month with no other fees associated paid to the management. I have considered working them down by another $100 as apart of the short term tenancy option. Did not mention that I have operated a prepackaged bakery trailer for the last 6 months and did pretty well but not as I would've liked due to few reasons mainly the laws changing on food truck parking and regulations. For future my business would be beneficial as a fixed location and also during the spring months to continue participating in the local community.
The mall does a significant amount of marketing including social media. A press release would be done as well as other marketing methods to generate the holiday buzz. The agreement would include no rent for the month of January should I decide to continuance of on going tenancy.
And lastly, yes my baby can come early as they are in control but I am hoping for the full 39 weeks. My other children were all to the scheduled date. But we never know! Thank you so much for the advice!
We had a cupcake place open up in the mall here, in one of those free standing stations. It was a branch from a brick and mortar here in town. They didn't last long. People buy cupcakes and treats for parties or desserts I think and parking at the mall and walking is really more effort than just going to one of the pull-up bakeries around town. I should also note, the brick and mortar is VERY popular here in town, the mall stand just didn't cut it I guess.
I'm wondering why you are feeling the need to do this now? I understand the opportunity is there, but it sounds like you are a very motivated person who makes things happen for yourself, and I'm sure other opportunities will come along in the future. Have you looked inward to truly understand your reasons for taking this on and are they valid? As you have asked for opinions I think you are deliberately overloading yourself - pregnant, 3 children, husband, existing business, Christmas coming up. Stop and spend some time figuring out the deep inside "Why?" Why are you keeping yourself so busy that you are ignoring what is very obvious to everyone else - that this is not a good idea at this time.