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Question on store front spaces, are they enough?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Since I am unable to go out and shop (caring for a sick elderly parent) I spend a lot of time on the internet. Well, I have become addicted to Groupon icon_redface.gif

I have purchase Groupons for several Baking/Decorating Classes offered by local bakeries in my city. I was eager to get in there and see how the pros do it hands on not just from looking at the T.V.

This past weekend I took the first of five different bakery classes I purchased. I was shocked. The first thing that amazed me was how small the space of the bakery was. I am not good with sizes so I cant give sq ft but very small. It was a store front type space.

When I entered the bakery I thought the part I was in was just the showroom. I thought there was a kitchen in the back with all the pans & tools, oven etc. There wasnt that was all the space the size of a small store front. They didnt use an oven. They only had 2 confection ovens. This was a surprise to me.

I a hobby baker with dreams of owning my own shop one day have a better kitchen setup and cake decorating toys at home then this bakery.

So my question is are there many bakeries out there that dont have real kitchens but getting the work done in small spaces? I ask because from this forum and looking at T.V. I thought it was very, very expensive over $80,000 to open a shop. From what I saw in the shop I can see a place being open for $7,000 to $10,000 in a store front. All that I see is really needed and costly is the sinks. Is this really possible?
post #2 of 10
My first thought is that it would depend on your state's laws as to what is required for a kitchen. Also, is it possible that they don't bake and decorate all the cakes at their shop? Maybe they rent space in a commercial kitchen somewhere nearby? I've never seen a bakery with a minimalist kitchen like you've decribed.
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
No, I didn't get the feeling they baked else where...its a very small bakery. In a very out of the way although up and coming area. If you weren't looking for it you would never find it. I know I would have drove by it if we werent looking for the address.

I know its always said location, location location but I don't see how they are making money off the bakery. They offer a 50% off goods after 3pm deal. Which I thought was odd. All the other bakerys I have seen do that have the special starting at 7pm...to get rid of the lasts.

What I did notice is they do a lot of class at $50 a head without a Groupon. That has to be paying the rent. It cant be the traffic from cakes and cupcakes.
post #4 of 10
Sounds normal to me. In SF, depending on neighborhood, 1500sq/ft of commercial space can be $15,000/month in rent on a triple net lease. Heck, 1500sq/ft apartments are around $4000/month. You have to work with what you've got. There is a "bakery" in the financial district that I know of that works out of 200sq/ft or less. There is room for 1 convection oven, a small table, 1 baker rack and counter right on the other side of the door. No seating, no display case, nothing. They make it work. In fact, I have looked at a similar set up but decided against it because I want to focus on wedding cakes, and no way would you be able to do a wedding cake in that type of set up.
post #5 of 10
I agree with FromScratchSF, you make what you have work, but within your business proposal and where you want to be going with your plans.
Having said that, I really want to teach courses but don't have too much space. I would love to do it right in the centre of my bakery kitchen where I DO have space and access to tools etc, but my health dept will not let anyone in my kitchen if they don't have the food handlers certificate etc. I'm now wondering if what these people are doing where you had the course is actually legal!!
post #6 of 10
If the raw space was not already a food service space, they did not do it for $7,000. Have a contractor give you an estimate and you will be surprised. The plumbing for the drain in the floor and the electric will be more than that.
post #7 of 10
The convection ovens cost minimum $3000 new... each... and used aren't astronomically cheaper.

The cost to build out even an extremely small commercial kitchen is outrageous and always MUCH more than you'd think. The sinks are the least of the cost. You need 100% commercial equipment from floor tiles to freezers to sinks to the grease trap and more. You need a mop sink and a separate hand washing sink and a 3 bay sink. You cannot have residential equipment there at all.

Maybe it was a bakery before and they were grandfathered in, but no way no how you can do it for 7-10K from the ground up. You can do amazing things in tiny spaces if you make it work for you. You don't need a 2000 sqft bakery to make a name for yourself. My friend has a 700 (ish) sqft bakery. It's a wonderful size.

I want to do over my garage and it will cost me upwards of 50-75K when all is said and done for a very small kitchen (plus all of the grunt work to get it ready). Not happeneing anytime too soon, but NH allows the licensing of home kitchens so I am not in a rush.
post #8 of 10
My husband and I are both contractors and bypassed many costs. In a space we owned, that was already finished with all approved surfaces, we spent $25,000. The contractors came in at $50,000.

Adding the panel box and bringing the 220 to it from the original box was estimated at $5,000. Our price on the grease trap was $2500.00. The plumbing contractor wanted almost $5000 to move the pipes. Luckily we had a floor drain, but the pumping stations has to be jackhammered in. Surfaces would have been expensive, but we had the industrial linoleum squares already in place. The restroom had to be converted to handicap accessable... and on and on and on ... for six months.

Rule of thumb: It will cost double the estimates and take double the time.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the feedback. I am going to be taking another class their next month. I am going to do some more looking around for all the things mentioned and asking the owner too.

No, I am sure this place was not a bakery before..its an up & coming area all of the store fronts look brand new.

On a side note and please forgive the question what is a grease trap and why is it needed? Where would it be located?
post #10 of 10
A grease trap is a required envoronmental piece of equipment. Some places only require an under-sink model that costs about $150.00 and must be installed. Other places require an underground tank. Mine was the smallest underground at 500 gal. It is a tank that is positioned before the septic tank to catch the grease. This way the grease does not get absorbed into the soil.

A grease trap collects the grease and doesn't allow it to go into our waste water. They must be emptied.
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