It's been a while since I've blogged. Was my last post really almost a year ago!? Yikes! Well, there may be good reason for that......
July 5, 2018 Rob and I made a joint decision to close our storefront bakery. We made an announcement about it, but in case you missed it, I wanted to post about it here again. We didn't close our bakery because we were not doing well, we were doing well in-fact and meeting our daily goals, with only being open Wed - Saturday. While Forest Grove is a small town (of twenty-four thousand people roughly), we played with being open in the beginning (October 2016 is when we opened our storefront - wow, almost 4yrs ago!) Tues - Sat, but just found that people really didn't get out until the end of the week! We even tinkered with Sunday. Honestly, while we didn't know what we were doing, we were doing everything an entrepreneur/small business owner should be doing. We definitely had and still have a 'business plan'. Forest Grove is a town of college kids (Pacific University), Seniors, and a bunch of dedicated, loyal customers in between.
So, back to my point -- why did we close? Well, we closed because it was just Rob & I. We did try hiring an intern that we had for a while who did an excellent job, but that meant being able to cover the costs of that employee, as well, not with just paying them, but with the additional requirements as they applied in terms of benefits. We were not willing to take out any type of huge loans and be on a never ending hamster wheel, if we did, it was to purchase equipment that made sense to help us be more efficient in baking. I understand that business decision works for many, but for us, we just decided we wanted to keep it small. But honestly, wedding cakes and custom cakes and orders pay the bills! These were just more reason as to why keeping the storefront open was not the avenue we were meant to take, as we wanted to be small, we wanted to touch our own products, and keep our service boutique and personal. The true reason why we closed -- Rob is a disabled combat veteran, twice deployed to Iraq, and deals with constant, severe pain and multiple issues that are invisible to the general public (and even to me sometimes) -- but Rob (my husband, your baker... thee baker) needed to accommodate himself better by moving our business back out of our home (where we started in 2014). I am also a disabled veteran, but nothing compared to my husband. So, there ya' go!
We do realize more than ever that if you do run a storefront then KUDOS to you! We do our best to support local business no matter how small or very small they are. It takes a lot of investment and sacrifice, and careful balance of work and family life, trust in employing anyone, and lots of money to run a business. So, remember that! Running a small business is one of the most sacrificial things you can do to serve your community!
While we closed our storefront in July 2018, we were still stuck in a lease and still baked out of the space, everything was just by appointment only. Winter was creeping in and honestly without foot traffic income coming in and Winter approaching (slower somewhat months), it didn't make sense to try and stay in our space. So, I took to Craigslist and Facebook and posted an ad seeking someone to takeover our lease. We had a few inquiries, some with 'dreams' and others with 'business plans'. We got lucky and found someone to takeover and were able to move out within a week by December 1, 2018. Little did we know, how long it would truly take to move out, how much labor and crap we had to move out, equipment to get rid of and downsize. Literally, we lived in our storefront, it was in-fact our second home, and it sure felt like it moving out.... can't you tell in the photo above! 😂 It definitely was a death in our business life, BUT a new opportunity to push our business in the areas we do best (and wanted to stick with in the first place). Our goals and restructuring back to that path -- exceeds what our future held staying in a storefront. I may sound negative about having had a storefront, but there were a lot of good things, and bad things, and definitely many LEARNING points... and opportunities for our kids who grew up in the storefront for 3 years of their life. My point -- it was a chapter in our business lives -- grateful for it -- glad it is over -- happy with where we are at at this point, working out of our home as a cottage bakery (oh - and we are conveniently located in Main Street - across from Ninja Teriyaki in Banks - yes! We moved to Banks in October 2017).
January of 2018, I started looking for ways we could really push our areas of expertise (I had been thinking about what our future would be and where it would go, obviously)... custom cakes mostly, and artisan breads! We did a handful of styled shoots (and I still have a lot of them to upload and share with you - see our other posts on our blog). We have since added decorated cookies, and cake pops! If you ever saw them in the storefront (decorated cookies and cake pops), I had started tinkering with the idea in December 2017 as I was getting tired of just doing paperwork, maintaining the website, social media, photos... haha.. yep, you're probably wondering "how was that not enough!?"... I wanted to be hands on and contributing more so I dove into doing decorated cookies and cake pops and it's coming up on almost 2 years learning and investing in this skill, but I will never stop learning - as Rob never will. I'm thankful (as he is) that he can put 110% focus on just his custom cake orders (and now myself, with custom decorated cookie and cake pop orders). It's truly amazing and so nice that we can now work on custom orders without interruption and without passing on overhead to our customers.
There's SO many things I want to share with you....... as I continue to write this blog post... but it is just a reminder, that I will definitely make it a point to blog more consistently! And, if you sign up for our newsletter, you'll be hearing from me at least once a month!
I will stop here and let you know that you can find us at the Forest Grove Farmer's Market every Wednesday (Sept 4th will be the last market that goes until 8pm; thereafter.. thru October.. the market will close at 7pm (it always opens at 4pm)). You may also find us at the 2 bridal shows listed in the footer of our website, or order from our Friday Menu on our website.
Thank you so much for your continued support! We manage to stay consistently busy year round thanks to our loyal customers, like you!, we look forward to keeping in touch more often!
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Until next time...