Monday, August 26, 2013

Cookie shop - week 4?

Wow, have we really had posession of the store for 4 weeks already? That's hard to believe! We're still waiting for building permits....hoping that those will be issued asap. Until then all we can do is continue to plan and shop around for equipment, fixtures, tables, etc. But it wouldn't be smart to purchase everything until the plans are approved...JUST IN CASE we may have to change some things and then some of the equipment, fixtures, etc. wouldn't fit. So we're still playing the waiting game on a lot of things. And that frustrates me to no end. I like to impulsively buy stuff so to hold back on that is like torture for me. But it's great for the bank account I suppose!

 We have made progress on demolition. There were some minor partition walls that had to come down to make room for the new walls, so Mia and I got a chance to help swing some hammers. She LOVED it! We also layed out the new floor plan to see it in place. It will be so exciting when the walls actually go up! I've been doing a lot of "figuring stuff out" when it comes to little things at the shop. Learning which switches turn which lights on, what the different noises of the traffic is like, how the locks and timers and door knobs and faucets all work. You know, the little things that you learn every day. And I have begun to get mail at the shop, which is really fun! But not really, because it's all been bills. But that's to be expected.

We are almost done with the new pricing structure. I've put a lot of thought into this because I wanted the pricing to be fair, concise, and clear. With the product being so custom, there are a lot of factors that go into the I want it to make sense for you, the customers. And there will be non-custom options for purchase, too! Which is a whole new ball-game for me. So I'm taking my time and being order to create the best experience for all of you.

 Other than that, I'm just making list after list after list of things to do once those permits are issued. Once that happens I'll have a much better idea of when the ordering will open back up for October, November, December. Please don't think that I don't want to take your orders for those months....I'm just SO unsure about the timeline until we get our permits. I don't want to agree to do something until I know 100% that I can actually do I can be most fair to you!

Did I mention that we REALLY need those asap? I feel like a broken record!

 Until next time! -k

Monday, August 5, 2013

A whole lot of standing around and talking about stuff.....

If you couldn't tell by the title of this's an update of what's been going on at "Project-Cookie Store". We've been standing around and talking about stuff a lot. So that's been fun. Let's go back to the beginning.... Rob and I were on the hunt for a store location beginning in about January/February. We went to a lot of places and nothing felt right...too big, too small, too far off the beaten path, too old, etc. etc. And the funny thing is that in my weekly errands I probably drive by THIS location multiple times per day. We had always loved this building since it was newly built about 10 years ago. But none of the businesses that were in it seemed to be the right fit for the space. I'm not quite sure why we didn't go see this space sooner, probably me being stubborn about something, but when we DID finally go see it, it just felt so right. We put it on the back-burner for a month or so until I was out of my "I'm just going to quit this business all-together" rut(Hey, I'm honest...I've been there...multiple times) and we decided to investigate further. So we went through a lot of red-tape about the zoning for the building...amount of parking, industrial vs. commercial zoning, blah blah blah. And then when we found out that we could get the zoning to get approved I went to work on the space planning to see if this could even be a good fit for my business. Lots of conversations with the health department, some discussions with other bakeries, and a TON of equipment research later it seemed that we could probably make this space work. Next up....let's get some contractors in there to see if we can even afford the remodel! So we had plumbers and electricians meet us there on multiple occasions....bouncing ideas around about how to make the space work. It's really unbelievable what all you are required to have in a food-service kitchen in terms of codes and clearances, etc. I knew a lot of this from working in food-service and managing a coffee/chocolate business for a long time....but when the contractors are spending your puts it in a whole new light. And when you see the price of this commercial hand sink....and that commercial mop's so unbelievably painful on your budget. So this all took a few months to complete and when we really figured out that this could actually work....and that we had found all the right people to do the started to feel possible. And that was a weird feeling...because all along I would not allow myself to get my hopes up. But we had to make a decision. Go forward with this space? Or keep searching? End the business all-together and get a normal job? Or pour my heart and soul even more into this business? We took the next step. We got an attorney and started working out some details of the lease. This was scary. This was very very real...and attorney bills are no joke! We had to be smart and precise....we had to ask the right questions and I had to try really hard to compose myself when at times I wanted to cry in front of all of these people because I was so scared that I was getting in way over my head. But I held it together. I thought of Mia and how proud she would one day be of me....and that I would want her to be able to face these tough things, too. It's just funny how you can come from a place of running your own business and knowing everything about your day-to-day a place where you're taking your business to a new level where attorneys and accountants and landlords and plumbers and building inspectors are speaking in another language and you're supposed to understand it. I felt really stupid sometimes...but I didn't let it get me down. I googled a lot of stuff late at night to try to understand stuff....I literally read one paragraph of my lease 462 times just to try to understand what it said exactly. Some days I felt like I was sinking....but then other days I swam to the top of the water and I actually participated in conversations feeling pretty confident about what I was saying. And before long, I was saying whatever the hell I wanted and not really caring how stupid I sounded! So then I procrastinated for about 2 weeks. I took some time to really think this all over....we had completed negotiations, the attorneys said I was ok to sign the lease, the landlords were ready to move forward....and I froze. Which I think (I HOPE) is normal. Rob and I went through a TON of late-night pros and cons lists, I cried pretty much daily, I woke up in the middle of the night to research stuff, re-read the lease, email the attorneys about one last thing...I was stressed. Like really really stressed. It's actually a miracle that all cookie orders over these 4-5 months got completed. Yes, I was still taking on a full work-load of cookie orders throughout this time. In-sane. So there was never really a day when I was woke up feeling 100% sure that this was the right path to go down. No. Do we ever really know what's right? No. It's all a game of taking risks and whatever you do. So we took the plunge. We signed the lease. And that's more-or-less how we got here. There are a lot of details left out in this story....way too many to list....but I'll try to quickly add in some of the missing pieces. Let's see....there's the time when I cried in the parking lot of an accountant's office, there's the 5,926 times that I asked Rob..."but will people even come to this store???", there's the times when Mia gets out a notebook, gets a pencil and starts to draw lines and says things like..."this wall needs to come down and this should be 45 inches!!" (OMG she's my clone), there are the countless times when I texted Rob and said "are we really doing this?", there's the 39 floor plans that I've scale....and then I change it the next day, there's the time when my dad said he was really proud of me and I cried (again), there's those moments when my mom would ask me what date the store was going to be open....even though we hadn't even figured out where the oven could fit yet (she's hilarious), there's been the times when I would just sit in my car in the parking lot of this potential storefront...and I would just think. There has been immeasurable support from my friends and family....especially from Rob, Mia, my mom and dad and my sister, Julie. And above all, there has been this continual feeling of dis-belief. That I just can't believe how much people believe in me. So back to where we are....we're still standing around talking about stuff. Talking about taking down walls but not doing it yet, talking about a grand opening party, talking about cash registers and mixing bowls...but it's all not happening yet. The plans are drawn, they will officially be submitted this week....and once we get permits it's go-time! All of the equipment has been chosen and is waiting to be ordered, the logo has gotten a face lift and I'm so excited about unveiling it, I'm constantly researching how to operate this store efficiently and to make it a great experience for all of my visitors and customers. You guys, I'm working so hard on can't even imagine. I am SO excited to share this journey with you....and I promise to update just as often as I can. Thanks, everyone for the well-wishes and congratulations messages, emails, texts, comments, likes, shares, etc....I have read each message and I can't thank you enough for the support! Thanks! -K