I just bought a sourdough bakery
I lived in the S.F. Bay area and my hobby for the last ten years was making sourdough bread. I previously owned a print/copy company. I sold the printing business and spent the last 8 years doing graphics for the new home industry. The mortgage debacle effectively ended this occupation.
So, I got on Craig's List and looked for business' for sale. The owners of a sourdough bakery in Oregon had just posted their business for sale on the S.F. Bay C.L. area board only. I called, my wife and I drove up and saw a very healthy business, and we decided to buy. We sold our house, bought the bakery outright, and started makng bread with an 80 year old sourdough starter.
Unlike bakers yeast bread, the sourdough process starts three days before the bake day. Much of the starter for the bake is prepared Friday for a Monday bake, the rest prepared the Sunday before it's used. Where you want a real sour taste (like white or rye), you use a combination of "old" starter and "new" starter. If you want less sour for certain breads (like raisin/walnut or spinach/onion), you use "new" starter only.
I also discovered "fresh baked sourdough bread" is something of a misnomer, sourdough breads don't reach their full flavor potential until the following day at the earliest. So the breads are delivered to restaurants and supermarkets the morning after an afternoon bake. All bread is "guaranteed sale" so any unsold bread is picked up by the delivery driver and credited to the retail outlet. Restaurants tend to underorder and run out (we freeze part of each bake to bail them out with, they never have returns), the amount that comes back from markets is negligible. Returned regular breads become croutons that always sell out quickly; older ryes, mulitgrains, specialty breads, etc. are sold out of the front of the bakery at wholesale prices, and it's a contest among the regulars to grab their favorites before the shelves are bare.
You wouldn't believe how satisfying it is to have a hugh room with racks full of hundreds of cooling loaves of sourdough, if you love making bread, it's like heaven. Best of all, I can go in on weekends and experiment with different recipes (I'm going to try a 20 pound batch of blue cheese and walnut soon, I just haven't decided on whether to use a whole wheat or light rye base dough, extra sour or mild sour; probably a mildly sour rye with extra whole wheat flour added, won't overpower the walnuts too badly), If I'm happy with the results, I can sell them out of the front to see how they do, if well received, I can make up a label with UPC code and sell them everywhere. This is really fun.