vendors for lower volume needs

Joined Aug 2, 2012
Good Afternoon Chefs!

A bit of advice needed here. I am starting a small cookie business in the Austin Area, and am trying to figure out the most cost-efficient way to procure the basics. I'm starting out on a shoestring, so am utilizing the Tx Cottage law to get things started, and will sell mostly at Farmers' markets at first. Hoping to distinguish myself with quality, branding and elevated, creative flavors.

First, does that make sense? If you were doing something similar on such a small budget, would you go about it in a similar fashion? 

Second, assuming that you would do so, what vendors would you recommend for bulk ingredients? It wouldnt't make sense for me to order from one of the big guys like Ben E Keith, but not sure my local store is the way to go either. I have sufficient storage space. to buy in bulk,

Thank you in advance!

Joined Aug 21, 2004
When I had my own place, I used to shop for bulk items at Costco, Smart & Final, and various ethnic markets. It was a PITA at times because it was a 45-60 minute drive each way, but vendors ain't cheap and I am. Vendors build in a delivery charges and have minimums, plus numerous other issues that I won't go into because if I did my keyboard might catch fire.

I started on a shoestring as well, so I can definitely relate. I made it work, so can you! Good luck in your venture.
Joined Feb 18, 2007
Do you have a Restaurant Depot or a warehouse club place near you?  You want to be vigilant about prices so check often; my local supermarket has heavy cream cheaper than anywhere I can buy in bulk or from a distributor.  I'm actually still angry about buying a case of whole milk on Monday (I was lazy and figured, since I had to meet an exorbitant minimum anyway, let them bring the milk.  Big mistake.  A gallon cost  $4.50 - the local supermarket is $3.29 and the wholesale club is $2.xx - and  the date was 10 days out, not the usual 4 weeks.  If I'm going to the supermarket anyway, sometimes I will buy what we need there instead - mostly it's things like the brand of buttermilk I prefer, or the heavy cream, half-and-half and the 10x confectioners sugar is cheaper there than anywhere else.  Also crushed pineapple when it goes on sale - it's cheaper than a #10 can at Restaurant Depot.  I cannot get good deals there on eggs, flour or sugar (plus, I use baker's special which I can only get from a distributor; at Restaurant Depot they have Extra Fine, so I can use that in an emergency but I don't like to.  Knowing where you can get a substitute if something is out of stock at the place you're buying from is also important.

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