The old saying “Two steps forward, 1 step back” can be so true!
It certainly has been as we move towards Rex Artisan Bakery’s opening – which should be just next month now!
1 easy step to (affordable) power
Outfitting the bakery is now coming along at apace.
Rex Bakery has planned a bakery shop with seating area for coffees, soups, baked items etc at the front of No. 4 Chenies Parade and the working bakery situated at the rear, you will be able to look through via the viewing window in the dividing door & wall (see picture). The 2 areas have to be mainly separate to carefully manage heat versus air conditioning in a working bakery.
Here’s some of the progress we’ve made in recent weeks:
Several weeks ago we blogged how the level of available electricity was very low in Chenies Parade, despite us having 3-phase power to our shop. We had been told by Little Chalfont’s sole electricity supplier, that it would cost us tens of thousands & many months to source any extra electricity from the nearest sub-station – it was a real shock to learn that our village appeared to be closed to a new small business.
We then went into reinvention mode, spurred on by fantastic Friend support. We unfortunately had to disregard biofuel energy (nice & eco but just proved impractical for a bakery business as you have to start up the ovens 5 hours before you can use them!!). The Continental baker prefers gas ovens & so through friends & the interweb we sourced a Mercedes of gas ovens to import (albeit with a Mercedes price tag to match) which meant we could now progress. Meanwhile, our local expert project manager friend (he should be leading the UN) advised us to lodge a formal complaint with the power company. Though of course a whinge about restricted supply could take an age & go nowhere. We also had conversations with councillors & frank, tough exchanges with the electricity provider’s local rep. All of which felt rather pointless at the time – but anyhow we had nailed our gas-powered plan B, so all were just ways to vent steam.
Then 1 week ago, out of the blue, we received a letter from the power provider offering to upgrade our electricity to the necessary levels for a few hundred pounds instead. Yay! We don’t exactly know what changed the supply problems or their minds, but we grabbed at this immediately & hey presto after they changed 3 fuses we now have all we need & more to open with the standard British electric commercial bakery ovens!!
Amazing! Friends may expect us to be more pleased than we are – but given the wasted energy (excuse the pun), time & money in sourcing alternatives, all of which are in too short supply when starting a new business – it doesn’t feel all that sweet. A good learning for us all though – let’s just take that 1st step of lodging a strongly worded complaint. If you kick up a fuss, stick to your guns, don’t just lie down & take it – this proves that the little guy can win out over the big guys on occasions 🙂
So the selected electricity ovens are paid for, are on their way, we’re still on track & we want to say thanks to everyone for your support & interest – woop woop!
We have fitted soundproofing & a new ceiling, air conditioning & extraction, 1st fix electrics, plumbing, interior walls. We have a new electric shutter from which we can see you outside but you can’t see in to us!! We have fixed multiple leaks in the ceiling, we have sourced flooring, shelving, seating, worktops, Farrow & Ball paint samples (that’s the nicest bit…). Plastering should take place this week…
Back doors are replaced, front window glass has been replaced, the shop sign goes up this week which will be more than exciting!
We have been busy meeting candidates, interviewing & assessing and are now at a point of making some offers on critical positions – the whole team is not yet established but there are some great people who are going to work alongside Rex the Baker to bring the dream to life. Actual opening date is dependent on the team being in place, as you can imagine.
Meanwhile the pop-up continues to grow every week in sales & in number of new Friends discovering us for the 1st time – it’s really nice to actually be inside the shop shell now to shelter from the last of the winter weather.
Have a great week again!