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Old 12-08-2006, 07:07 AM
 
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I have been thinking about buying a small bakery. Does anyone have any feed back on this. Is it a good idea or a bad idea etc. I just don't know about the market down here for a bakery. Thanks.
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:28 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
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I suppose the first general consideration is whether Palm Beach County has the kind of population that would appreciate fresh bread and other baked goods. The answer is probably that enough people would do to support a small business, provided, however, you can keep costs relatively low. That is no easy task in today's financial environment, unless you negotiate a good rental agreement or you have already owned the prospective site outright for some years now.

For a detailed analysis, Palm Beach County is too wide an area since probably most of your business will be quite local, unless you plan on opening some kind of chain, but then the product already loses its uniqueness appeal, at least in my view.

In any case, obviously location is the key: ideally a place with a balanced combination of foot traffic and easy-access parking, on the one hand, and a year-round population on the other, but that's not too easy to find; maybe downtown Delray Beach or City Place, for example, but they are expensive and not much traffic there in the off-season. It is also expensive to set up shop in a mall.

As far as small shopping centers, I suppose your biggest competitor would be the local Publix which has its own fresh bakery, though it falls well short of the mark, for my tastes, in the quality of the breads (from time to time I make my own). Other competitors will be some single-shop bakeries with an ethnic focus: earning a reputation for making some really good Sicilian-style bread, for example, or perhaps fresh-baked sweets and other specialties with a Hispanic focus (like empanadas, fried banana cakes), may be a key to success. Another competitive asset may be setting up a place where it is pleasant for people to "hang out". The Panera chain seems to have achieved this, but in my view the coffee is absolutely horrible. So good coffee, maybe offering an alternative to the overpriced filtered muck served in most of the Americas, may also be a factor: an authentic creamy espresso or cappucino, for example, not a Starbucks imitation (they don't know how to whip the "panna" here: did you ever see a couple of kids in Barney's or Starbucks try to work the machine? It's comical).

In short, in my view, it is crucially important to have good inside information on a viable location and some kind of cost advantage, coupled with a uniqueness appeal (I could be dead wrong, though, and perhaps a Dunkin' Donuts type thing might prove more successful). Otherwise it will be a real struggle and you may break even at best.

There are also food business license issues to deal with, but I am not familiar with the details. You may have to consult the Florida State and PBC commerce departments for that.

I hope this helps a little.

Last edited by bale002; 12-08-2006 at 08:36 AM..
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