We loved the support & likes on our Facebook page when we confirmed that we now own what was Greystokes’ shop in Little Chalfont Parade 🙂 When we handed over orders on Saturday, many of you lovely Friends were congratulating us & asking when the shop would open as Rex Artisan Bakery. We know it will be in the new year, but calling exactly when is unfortunately like how long is a piece of a string – we’ll explain a little of what we’ve been through so far & what’s to come.
Why is the shop taking so long??!
We’ve been up & running <6 months, since Village Day mid-June. From then we started the weekend pop-up bakery and immediately started looking for permanent premises, trying to balance location with size (a lot of baking space is required). Err, and of course cost…. There aren’t the breaks you maybe would imagine for a new business start-up (unless you’re a charity shop or in just about any part of the UK bar Bucks), in fact it’s quite the reverse – it’s all scarily expensive to us. Here’s 3 reasons it’s taken us many months to buy what we think is the right shop:
- Commercial property complexity
Our solicitor (also called Rex! from ibb) called the buy his “most difficult in 30 years of this type of work”… We found 5 parties to consider in the contract – the owner, the current leaseholder, the management company for the parade, the flat owner & of course the Rex Baker. No wonder it took >4 months after the price was agreed – and inevitably the Rex Baker ended up having to take on the liability for most issues.
Whilst the shop of course comes with a trading licence, so that we can bake & sell as soon as we start, there are other restrictions which a planning consultant is helping us navigate. The shop will have seating for 15+ to enjoy coffee, soup at lunchtime, warm pies & the like and in time this will require a retrospective licence. We also want to change the shop front glazing. We’re in good company in the parade in seeking out permissions – locals will recall that Tesco’s opening was delayed for their air conditioning licence and Costa was turned down initially.
There are upfront one-off costs to buy all the ovens, retarders, refrigeration etc as well as actually refurbishing & styling the shop – it’s as expensive as creating several high end new kitchens all at once!
We budgeted for that but at the last minute we had to ensure we weren’t charged 20% of the shop purchase price for VAT – whilst VAT is refundable, it’s a long slow process & would have wiped our shop refurbishment pot.
And 3 more that we still have to navigate before opening…
Wall moving, soundproofing, heat exchange, electrics, plumbing (including a new disabled customer loo), plastering, glazing, signage, shelving, security, flooring, decorating… all on a shoestring/ mates’ rates (pretty please guys)/ DIY.
- Fixtures & fittings
There is a leadtime to acquiring & steam-adjusting & fitting all the ovens & equipment that the Rex Baker needs. Most is identified but the order timing is sensitive because at the same time the pop up bakery units need to be moved from the Rex Baker’s home & installed in the shop – at which point Rex Bakery itself will be on hold whilst the change takes place, and we won’t be able to fulfill your orders for a while.
In addition there is a wealth of new items to make it all a reality – from tills to coffee cups to shelves to lighting – all are yet to be sourced & acquired. Fortunately we’ve learnt quite a lot about bags & the like in the meantime…
The Rex Baker can’t do it all himself. He needs additional bakers, barista & soup-makers & sales staff to make Rex Artisan Bakery a success. That means advertising, interviewing, hiring… and again timing is critical to make sure the right group of animated, committed baking passionistas will be trained & ready to join the Rex team just in time for the bakery launch.
So we are promise to work our socks off for this but please forgive us for not having a hard & fast date yet, we’re new to it all so aren’t quite sure how long it all takes 🙂 Any advice, please post in the comments, we love to hear from you!