18 September 2011

Takin' Care of Business

So, let's see....when I last left off, I was telling you about this space I had seen for my still undecided commercial kitchen/non-commercial bakery/maybe traditional cupcake shop. I visited again with a contractor about 10 days ago and the place was really growing on me. I was starting to feel excited about the prospect of making this my own space and moving in. I'm not a craftsman by any means though I had a rough idea of what construction work would set me back. Until my contractor really started to pull back the layers and take a more profound look around. There are many flaws that are more than skin-deep. I won't get into all of them but here are the top three that I had totally not counted on:

1) The wiring. There's not enough juice in the place for me to install more than 1 oven. And if that was bad enough, apparently the electricity is not up to code and so everything needs to be replaced.

2) There's a monstrosity of a refrigerated pastry case sitting in the middle of what's currently the restaurant portion. It's a freebie as part of the sale. No wonder considering the glass is nicked on one side, one of the doors doesn't close properly and it leaks -- there's water damage on the floor under the evacuation pipes. My original thought was to junk it or sell it piecemeal. Well, when we took a look under it, we noticed the parquet had been cut and removed in order to settle this into the floor. WTF? Who does that? The sad thing is the floor is actually in pretty good condition but both my contractor and a "courtier" who arrived with the real estate agent say the whole floor will need to be redone.

3) The back door looks as if someone barreled into it with a battering ram. The "copropriete" says it needs to be replaced or restored to its original condition. No kidding! Well, would you believe that this was once a double door and at some point someone decided to condemn one of the doors and then built a wall over it. So in order to replace the door, the only way to access the frame is to destroy that wall, take the frame out, put a new door in and rebuild it. Arggh!

The kicker of the whole visit though was during our discussion of installing a "hotte" (evacuation) in the kitchen, the real estate agent disclosed that the "copropriete" has decided that a business causing "nuisances de bruit ou odeurs" will not be allowed. When I heard this, I pointed out that I will be baking on-site and therefore there will obviously be odors emanating from the property. His response: "Yes, but you bake cakes. You won't be cooking with onions or cabbage. You will be making pleasant smells." I didn't even know what to make of this. All I could imagine was doing all the work, spending all this money to set myself up and getting shut down a week later because the building tenants don't like what they are smelling. This is obviously a point that needs to be covered off before proceeding. I'm still hoping I can pull a rabbit out of the hat on this whole thing as the space has such promise. To be continued.....

In the meantime, this past week was insane - I made hundreds of cupcakes for various events, taught a cupcake class out at a company in Levallois and I met with Hard Rock Cafe to discuss a really exciting upcoming project. I was happy for the distraction as my little one head off to school full-time and I was feeling blue about my kids growing up. Here are just a few of the orders that went out this week: LV cupcakes for a birthday party; logoed mini cupcakes for auFeminin.com which were served at the mega fashion show Galeries Lafayette pulled off this past week; cupcakes for the launch of a new association called ProudToBe Entrepreneur, and mini cupcakes for a pre-screening of The Gruffalo movie at Forum des Images (they're decorated with rice paper that show a still from the film.). Have a good week everybody!


  1. Sorry the place sounds a bit like a terror. One thing I've never been impressed with is the French's construction and home improvement skills. Compared to the US it feels laughable.

  2. Oh no - I really hope this place works out for you. Construction is a nightmare but when you get through it all, so worth it.

    If you give more cupcake classes I want to know!