Bakery supply stores carry a varied selection of bakeware, molds, paper goods and food ingredients for commercial and hobby bakers. Store merchandise may include special-purpose baking pans and tools, cake stands and toppers, and specialty pastry fillings. Some bakery supply stores also carry powered equipment such as flour sifters, bowl scrapers and bread slicers. These machines are typically used by higher-volume bakery operations.
Identify potential regional customers. Bakery supplies may be used by hotels, caterers and cake or pastry chefs. In addition, commercial users such as restaurant or executive chefs may patronize your store. There is also the residential baking supply market. Many talented amateur bakers enjoy creating treats for family and friends.
Choose a convenient central location. Plan for plenty of parking, even during periods of high demand. Showcase your bakery supplies in a spacious front window display. Install fixtures of varied heights to accommodate differently configured equipment. Create a changing video presentation featuring your bakery supplies, along with bakery creations accomplished with store products. Work with a sign maker to create a building sign with eye-catching bakery graphics.
Order wholesale baking supplies. Create a list of your major bakery supply categories (e.g. mixing equipment, bake ware and serving ware). Choose items to be stocked in each category, along with a good selection of sizes and configurations. Place wholesale orders to increase your profits and use quantity discounts where applicable.
Hire friendly and knowledgeable staff. Select employees with excellent customer service skills and with extensive knowledge of bakery equipment and supplies. Look for culinary school students, apprentice chefs and former military kitchen managers. Provide professional matching attire for all employees. Finally, conduct monthly update sessions to familiarize staff with new products and equipment.
Hold a sweets-filled open house. Work with your staff to bake a variety of sweet treats using supplies available in the store. Invite your prospects to visit the store to enjoy the confections and to take advantage of introductory savings on all supplies and equipment. Prepare savings comparisons for both commercial and retail customers.
Advertise the event in the food section of local newspapers. Finally, distribute fliers to gourmet kitchen stores and local baking and pastry classes.
Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.