The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

We need a bakery in our town!

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Carief's picture
Carief

We need a bakery in our town!

Hello,

I work as the Community Development Director for a small town in east-central Minnesota.  Princeton (popul. 5,000) is a great community, but we do not have a bakery.  We had one in town for years, but it recently closed down.  We have space available downtown (including the old bakery building) and also commercial lots in the newer retail development near the intersection of two major highways.  If anyone has any ideas on how to attract a bakery into town, please let me know! 

Thank you,

Carie

geoffreypelkey's picture
geoffreypelkey

Maybe you could offer someone a few months rent free to attract a baker to move into town? Its a tough sell because of the population numbers and the former bakery closing. What kind of bread do most people eat there?

ross.s's picture
ross.s

A coop would attract young bakers

Look at Arizmendi Bakery in California

http://www.arizmendibakery.org/about

boomerang's picture
boomerang

opening a retail bakery in a small community is so difficult and extremely expensive.  while the community says they want a bakery, they rarely support them because it is more convenient and less expensive for folks to go to pick up their bakery products at the grocery store or the big walmart conglomerate.  our community did a development study and the top 3 things our community wanted was 1) upscale restaurant, 2) bakery, and 3) better schools.  i sought to fill 2) and it has been a struggle.  approx 85% of my business is not local community members.  what started out as great has be tough to hold on to because items that i have created that have become popular are now being made by a couple of the cafe and restaurants in town so folks eating out are also buying bread, pies, cakes etc from those eating establishments they already frequented.  the coop idea would be great because it is different and each baker could attract their crowd thus bringing in more folks.  perhaps get your local business development folks involved and encourage area business support also to ensure there is a desire for new business by everyone

 

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I think it is important to remember that when you open a business that local residents  don't owe their patronage to you.  It is the responsibility of the business to win and keep customers.

 

Gerhard

boomerang's picture
boomerang

so true Gerhard, so true.  Stand behind the product you sell is so important.

Carief's picture
Carief

Thank you for the comments.  I will contact the landlord to see about the rent abatement idea and will explore the coop idea.  Much appreciated!

 

mimifix's picture
mimifix

You can also contact the Bread Baker's Guild. Their website has  a page for business opportunities.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I have visited a great many small rural bakeries.  They range from mom & pop operations to upscale, expensive and showy bakeries with new expensive equipment and lots of it. 

With little exception, the successful ones had one common element...good product, really really good product.  Fancy showrooms, expensive tables and chairs, slick advertising and glitzy websites mean nothing if the product is lacking.

Jeff

boomerang's picture
boomerang

Amen.  We don't ahve showey or expensive, and can't afford any advertising but we do have great product that looks simple but nice and tastes amazing.  I have a strong base of customers which is growing.  Just wish it was more local than those driving in from sometimes 60 mile radius.  Locals are finally finding their way here.  My point above wasn't to discourage but to be sure that the community is ready and does want a bakery -- it will make it easier for a bakery to survive.

 

gerhard's picture
gerhard

One thing to remember is that an independant scratch bakery is really a specialty store these days and probably can't expect to attract more than 10% or so of the population and of those only a per centage will be regulars.  The people that are happy with baked goods sold at Walmart are not likely to be persuaded to pay more for higher quality bread and pasteries and will more likely than not complain about your "ripoff" pricing.  Your customers will be sensitive to the quality of products sold, Walmart customers are sensitive to price to the point of being illogical as for instance willing to drive a great distance to save $10.00 or buying product of questionable quality.  

Gerhard

BettyR's picture
BettyR

I live in a rural area on the Texas Gulf Coast, the closest town of any size to me is a 30 minute drive with a population of 8,000 people and I don't think a bakery could make a go of it there....it's just too small and being a farming community most of the wives make their own breads, cakes, pies and so on, I know I do.

But there is a doughnut shop and they do a brisk business with the morning commuters who drive into the city to work. They also advertise that you can special order just about anything you want and they will make it for you. I have purchased specialty items from them on several occasions and they were top-notch.

This has worked very well here and is something else you could think about.