... in 2010 both unhappy with our jobs in Germany, we decided to move back to Errol's hometown Kenoza Lake NY, to start our own business. Since I had a pastry degree and Errol is good with numbers we figured the logical idea was to open a bakery in the area.
After just a couple months of research and the help from Sam Kandel from the Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center, we had a proper Business Plan written and received our start-up loan in Dec. 2010. We had already found a location on Route 52 in Jeffersonville that we leased for 3 years.
During the first two years, Errol and I were running the show all by ourselves. We had a doorbell installed that would ring in the kitchen when a customer entered the tiny store. One of us would stop what we were doing and help the customer. Of course that system had its flaws, on busy days we didn't get much done during business hours, what meant that we had to do overtime and stay at long as it took to get everything ready for the following day. Sixteen or seventeen hour days were pretty normal for us at that time.
During our second year in Jeffersonville, we were approved as vendors for the Callicoon Farmers Market on Sundays, now it was time to hire our first employee that could run the store for us while we were preparing for the now even higher demand on baked goods. In the summer of 2012 we were able to host our first pastry internship and received that way a little extra needed help. Coincidentally it was the daughter of our next door neighbor here in Livingston Manor (small world).
At the beginning of 2013 we had to start thinking, "what to do, when the lease is up?". Staying in the same small space was no longer an option. By this time we were regular vendors at not only the Callicoon Farmers Market but also the Barryville Farmers Market, The Roscoe Farmers Market, The Liberty Farmers Market and at the Festivals at Bethel Woods in addition to having the store open five days a week. We had simply outgrown the space. The kitchen had no room for additional or larger equipment, and by now, we were working with another two employees. We were all stepping on each other or running into the dough sheeter handle and receiving the token bruise on the hip as proof. So we started looking for space, and this time, we were looking to purchase. Building a bakery kitchen (pardon the pun) from scratch is an expensive endeavor and we did it once already, this time we wanted the move to be permanent. Unfortunately nothing was available in our price range in Jeffersonville at that time, so we expanded our search to the nearby towns and found our "diamond in the rough" here in Livingston Manor NY.
We closed on the building the Summer of 2013. Now we had to go back to step one, write another Business Plan and try to acquire financing for renovations and to update some equipment. We were able to find the financing we needed in the form of a loan through the Sullivan County Planing Board with the help of Jill Weyer and with the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development with the help of Marc Baez. Unfortunately, not for the entire amount that we had hoped for, which meant that we had to max out our credit cards and do a lot of work ourselves.
The renovations on the building started in January 2014. Errol started raising walls and I was taking unneeded walls down. We spent every minute in our new space to get the work done as fast as we could to keep our personal deadline of being open and back in business by the end of March 2014. We sheet rocked, we plastered, we sanded, we painted, we installed laminate floors, we poured epoxy floors in the kitchen... Who knew that i could plaster, its just like icing a cake, a very big cake.
At the beginning of March 2014 we were ready to call back our employees to let them know we are back in business. The entire renovation took less than three months. We opened the bakery here in Livingston Manor just in time before our personal deadline was up March 27th, three years exactly from when we first officially opened in Jeffersonville.
Opening day was a very happy day for us. We made it, we managed to make a cozy store, an efficient kitchen and we didn't go bankrupt in the process. Happy customers were coming and going, loads of positive energy was felt everywhere. Everyone welcomed us and our business with open arms and we are grateful to have found our place here in the community.
It was a wonderful decision to come to Livingston Manor and we are exited for the years to come...