Every week our new & existing Friends ask “how much longer now”.
The truth is, there are major challenges to test & stretch us every single week if not daily, and this week has been especially full of ups 🙂 & downs :(.
Two steps forwards and one (or two) back…
This week the Rex Baker was TERRIBLY EXCITED when his new electric oven arrived. Regular Friends will recall the hassle we faced over power, which was miraculously resolved. Amazingly, the very kind supplier delivered brand new ovens for the price of reconditioned ovens, and 5 men spent 7 hours building it on-site. It will take about another week to plumb & connect still and then after that we still need to transfer our working home bakery equipment to the site.
It was great to welcome so many Friends into the shop with its newly smooth concrete floor, almost painted walls, grouted tiles, ceiling lights ready to work & woodwork installing. It’s all visibly getting there…
On the other hand, we’ve had setbacks and some of them are potentially significant. We continue to say we hope to launch by end March and we hate to use the word, but like Power-gate, 1 or 2 could be showstoppers in terms of opening date.
This week’s showstoppers
1. Our patisserie fridge
Many Friends of Rex Bakery seem to enjoy our cakes, buns, sausage rolls and for the past 2 weeks only until the shop opens, Croissants & pain au chocolat & pain au raisin (which sold out within 1/2 hour on Saturday). For hygiene & health standards we need to keep many of these chilled & guarded once the shop opens. So we set about finding a patisserie fridge, and of course like everything the Rex Baker is selecting, a beautiful top quality unit was chosen.Imagine our excitement when we found that the exact product we were after was available nearly new on ebay!
We successfully won the auction and chose a highly rated courier to transport our new multi-kilogram, 1.2 metre (virtually square) fridge to Little Chalfont. We asked for delivery as early as possible as our good friend George Noble the builder, was building a full length counter around the patisserie fridge & a polished concrete worktop is being installed above it. So super-frustrating when after a week, our seller let us know that they had had no contact from our courier. Argh!
We asked the courier if we could cancel, with an idea to hire a van ourselves to go collect it. Upon which, the couriers told us that they had now organised a date to collect from the seller and that they would deliver to us at the end of that week and if we wanted to cancel that would cost us 50% loss of the original hefty courier payment. So Hobson’s choice – but we decided we could only afford to hold on so George’s team built the counter around an imaginary fridge…But to our horror on the expected day of delivery, the seller told us that the fridge had STILL not been collected. The courier’s response was that they expected us to cancel so hadn’t sent their van to collect it in case we did.
More argh!!! What’s worse, it would be a further week before they could collect & then deliver to us…Beyond painful but with no fast alternative to hand, we went with it and at last our seller confirmed the fridge had been picked up. Yay!! So…. imagine how we react on Friday (bake prep day… kind of busy…) when we were on standby to receive the ginormous patisserie fridge at the shop – only to learn that the courier’s van was involved in some big country lane accident whilst on its way to us. Hmm. Glad that nobody was hurt BUT when we hear that the write-off is not just the van but the patisserie-fridge inside too – YET MORE ARGHH!!! So, we now have to source exactly that patisserie fridge model (to fit what’s been built around it) brand new at full price, and sincerely hope we can do that in good time. AND we predict a major dispute with this slippery courier to retrieve our full payment prices. Sigh. Life is never easy, is it…
2. Bakery staff
Our bakery team is 80% complete now with wonderful people, very exciting. But we’ve STILL been unable to recruit 1 critical position, let down a couple of times now unfortunately. We have to keep on trying.. there is no such thing as 80% there if we are to open the shop – this really is a lynchpin role..
3. council planning
We continue to be in planning discussions & paperwork around all sorts of steps including even air conditioning unit details…
The good news is that we can of course fully trade from No.4 as a shop like all Chenies Parade ground floor inhabitants, as well as food provision & preparation like other units up & down the parade. But the bad news is all the paperwork….
So you can see there are plenty of developments away from the simple craft of home-making the Rex Bakery produce for the Little Chalfont pop-up every Saturday morning.
Many thanks & here’s hoping we all have a truly great week after last week, we all deserve it!!