Hard questions......

Joined Feb 26, 2004
I am looking into opening a bakery as a brand new career. But I can’t taste anything that I make (tongue removed from cancer) or anyone that can be hypercritical to my wares. But I can still bake my *** off, plus I love to do it. The market seems good ( no bakeries in my county) and I have most of the things I need to do it. BUT because of my cancer I lost everything I saved, including retirement. Should I put my family through this, even if I don’t know if I will live another 3 years? Tough questions. I’m used to working very hard and doing something I love to do is a real plus. I need to eat in a special way and often so I have to have my own store. I lost my tongue some of my throat to cancer. I had cancer of the lymph nodes under my chin.

I started baking after all my surgeries to get use of one of my arms. I got really good at it by the time I was well. I have a big house that once was a restaurant with 3 ovens and tons of stuff. I practice and will go through 50lbs of flour in a month. It is time for me to fish or cut bait. My family needs to know. Please direct responses to [email protected] also. All of sudden everybody wants to give me therapy. I have good insurance,
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Hello, skunkman,
There are several very big risk factors here, and it's up to you to make this decision:

First, and most importantly, you WILL lose money the first year, and must be willing and able to go through that.

You NEED someone there who can taste, with a good sense of quality. It is imperative.

Please make sure that your chances of survival are better than good---You don't want to go through all this hard work for nothing.

Know that a full time bakery is more than a full time job, and with your condition, this may bee too much. Only you know the answer to that.

Is your home still zoned for commercial baking? Make sure it is with the health department. That alone can answer your question for you.

I don't know how old you are, but if you are older, and expecting this to take care of your retirement, I suggest REALLY looking at the numbers before you make any rash decisions.

KNOW that enjoying baking, at your own pace, for friends and family, is VERY different than doing it for a living. Volume is higher, consistency is critical, and speed is of the essence. After all, time is money.

OF COURSE, write a business plan, with details that include how much money you are willing to lose, who your target market is, how you will market the business, how much you need to sell, and what your expeditures/revenue will look like.

Most of all, good luck with whatever you do. This is a VERY ambitious undertaking, considering what you've already been through. I hope that you keep us informed of what you choose to do.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Just a thought, but maybe you could sell a small number of baked items - your "top of the line" recipes- and sell to coffee shops or restaurants in your city.

I had a friend who baked out-of-this-world cheesecakes and sold them to a couple of restaurants. She made them at home, with health department approval. Three or four flavors of cheesecakes was all there was to her line, but she did them very well and made a little money at it. The product was freezer-friendly, which helped her a lot.
Joined Mar 7, 2001
Oh well I ran a bakery for two years and I have to tell you that I basically lived there. If it is scratch baking it takes time and alot of hand work. You may train assistant after assistant to help you but they do not have the same stake in the business that you do ....so do not expect speed. You will not have time for a social life at all. It takes alot of time to get people to come to a bakery vs the all purpose supermarket. You have to offer something they do not and it has to be of great value to them ie cheap. I would sell foccacias in my bakery and have so many people balk at the $6.00 price tag. I walked into Breadsmiths in another city and saw $9.00 for one and people were buying it out. There was no other bakery in our community other than the supermarket. The area population base was about 15,000 what I did not take into account is that there were alot of farmers in the area, they do not go to specialty bakeries. In the end my whole family suffered we lost our home and our business. Today I still have old customers stop me to tell me how much they miss my bread. Retail alone will not make your business a strong wholesale clientel is essential.
Joined Feb 26, 2004
All right here am what I’m going to do. We live at the gates of a very large national recreational area in Tennessee ( http://www.lbl.org/Home.html ). Summer just before sunup there’s a big parade of fisherman and campers on the way in every morning. In the winter it is a major deer hunting area. We are going to open a little shop that sells soup and sandwiches that I’m going to display bake goods too. I live in the middle of a forest primeval here. Logging is a major industry and I can get maple and oak scrap from saw mills by the ton for free. So I’m going to smoke my own meats and make corned beef and pastrami for the sandwiches. Use my own bread for them too. A display for bake goods and maybe specialty stuff for campers and hikers. (trail mix, granola, boiled peanuts, big homemade marshmallows and specials of a gallon or two of chili, cold cuts, jerked meat and bread for hunters). All the smoking and baking I will do at home and my wife runs the shop during the day. I can keep a track on my bake goods to see what sells in this area. The locals would gladly pay 99 cents a loaf for bread at the market but muffins and cookies and cakes might make it. I can see what sells in smaller quantities and adjust. There is a ton of local (logging trucks) and semi trucks passing through this area to Memphis. A good cup of coffee and sandwich would go a long way here. Thank you for all your responses and advice. Perry Fielder Dover, TN
Joined Jul 30, 2004
Good luck Perry...you've got my mouth watering....
Just remember to take your vitamins...sounds like you're dreaming up a lot of work for yourself! (and the wife) :)
Joined Feb 26, 2004
I have enough energy for 3 people. Being only 5 foot 5 and a first child I have one of those class "A" personalities. I have always been an overachiever. I even started my own graphic art bussiness and I didn't even know how to draw and I made good money at it.
Joined Feb 26, 2004
My wife is a first child too and a natural redhead with all the trimmings to boot. She too has a class "A" personality and lots of energy to boot. She will make it just fine.

Joined Oct 13, 2007
:chef::chef::chef: Hi, I can give you all the knowhow for the best creamy cheesecake you may wish, just email me at [email protected]
Well a lot of Luck for your personal problem's, But I must say that if someone in your family like kid's, that have the willing too go on as a family cheesecake buisness and have a good will and good tasting then damm it all and just find out and resolve the helth dept. problems and go ahead with your project, you got almost all the equip. that's the real high cost of the buisness. Good Luck too you, since your not in my country if you email me I can give you a very secret ingredients for a very good crust n°1, you'll beat all the competiors !
Joined Dec 17, 2006
From a survivor to another.. I quit a 125k/yr job @ 28 yo to pursue my goals I set out in college while dealing with Cancer.. At the time most thought I was crazy.. but at 52 and semi-retired for 10 yrs... and have now gone to school, and "playing with my food" everyday.

I say what the heck.... go for it... you will never encounter ANYTHING as hard as a bad diagnosis/prognosis...they told me 3 mos MAX...HAH..what do they know anyway.. 24yrs later the story continues... Just make sure your menu includes WHOOPIE PIES....:D
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Another cancer survivor here too(Nasal Pharynx). Three weeks or three years shouldn't matter now. It's what makes you happy and feel alive, ready to get out of bed every day that counts. I lost all sense of taste after chemo and radiation therapy but I willed it to come back(about 75%). The other 25% I leave to experience or guess. Hey, Bethoven composed music deaf right? Trust your instincts, that little voice in your head is usually right.
Joined Aug 23, 2007
Sounds beautiful where you live - would it be possible to post pictures? I would love to see your house and surrounding areas - the house sounds lovely too
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