The New Bakers Dozen
Deer in the Headlights?

The The Bakers Dozen: Deer in the Headlights?
By Seawitch (Seawitch) on Friday, April 21, 2000 - 01:43 pm: Edit

Gerard, Hate to admit this to you or to myself, but I'm going back to my old
career - industrial advertising & trade shows. Can't pay the rent on what I've
been doing. The dairy & food shows (the kind Kraft Intl. , Borden's and food
researchers go to ) give me great vendor contacts and inspiration, so who
knows. Have been offered 2 jobs at 2 new restaurants on island (they ate my
cooking & baking at place I just quit), and might do something part-time just to
keep my hand in. HOWEVER, here's where the deer in the headlights comes
in. I've been blinded by an opportunity. There is a bakery here that supplies
most of the restaurants in the area with their desserts (ever had the chocolate
walnut pie everyone serves here? ). They also have a tiny retail section in the
front. She's had it, has a new husband, wants to sell and will stay on for a while
until new owner is settled. My first thought as a marketing person was
...established bakery...established commercial customers...established trained for growth. The problem? Me. I can in no way call myself a
professional pastry person. I'm a hell of a baker, have had sporadic formal
training here and there over the years and been taught a few things by a few
professionals and done some private catering. So, thought in the back of my
head is to buy it and just be the manager/owner concentrating on new markets
& customers. (build a website and ship stuff? Bigger retail outlet?) Take some
weekend classes at Johnson & Wales or Cambridge. Have I been eating too
much chocolate ganache or is this actually a plausible idea? O.k., I've taken a
deep breath. I'm ready for your critique.

By Gerard (Gerard) on Saturday, April 22, 2000 - 06:17 am: Edit

In my guts I think you're nuts.
I also thought the same thing when those two fellows started baking cheesecake in that TINY home oven on Plum Island in a cottage(shack).
It took off and is known by its commercial name as Alden Merril, one of the biggest cheesecake producers around. So I'm obviously a real expert and a fountain of dis-information sometimes.
Take a hard look at the numbers, is it self sustaining?, will the critical help stay on?
You need to see 3 yrs tax returns, prepared by a CPA. Not from the 1980's either, the past 3 yrs. Is it going up or down , don't listen to what they say, go by the returns. Is the equipment decent or need replacing.
If the numbers are in order and everything checks out then yeh, if you don't go for it you'll kick yourself the rest of your life. You can always sell it later but the opportunity might not present itself again like this.
I think you'll rise to the challenge.
I can show you some simple stuff to expand your wholesale/retail base, croiss etc.
Newburyport is a yuppie heaven and will support these products. You don't need 20 yrs experience baking to run a good shop, if you know whats hot and manage people well you've got all it takes.
I'd be excited by it.

By Seawitch (Seawitch) on Sunday, April 23, 2000 - 09:35 am: Edit

You're giving me goospimples! I was thinking of Alden Merrill, too. You're
statment about the opportunity never presenting itself again , yuppie heaven,
etc. is exactly what has been running in my head. I can't afford NOT to check it
out. A million thanks. I have a friend who is willing to check out the physical
plant and another offering some financial backing (I know, I'll need a good
lawyer if I accept that). I value your expertise and experience, and am sincerely
grateful for your straight-forward response. Hey, I've lived on Kraft macaroni
and canned beans before, and I can do it again if I have to!

By Gerard (Gerard) on Sunday, April 23, 2000 - 06:34 pm: Edit

Just take your time , I watched our location for over a year.
Email if you get any hard numbers.
Something tells me you won't get them any time soon.

By Seawitch (Seawitch) on Monday, April 24, 2000 - 11:10 am: Edit

Many, many thanks. Looking through old messages, found address for your
website. Great! By the way, while working in Denmark & Germany couple years
ago I spent the weekends in the hotel restaurants & kitchens (spent a couple
weeks in Lubeck Germ - marzipan capital of the world) Brought back a couple
baking cookbooks and am working on trying to duplicate some of the breads
and the real danish pastries. Only real pain in the having to translate the
recipes first! Since then I've only used marzipan, fondant and royal icing for my
cakes, also. So much richer. Working on my pastillage. That's a real craft.
Again, thanks.

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