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I looked into a small store in New York City that is a little over 250 sq. feet and it does not have a kitchen - I would need to create one.

I know this specific place is not for me, but I was wondering how small your small shop is? Is there anyone here who has a retail store but with a separate commercial kitchen in another location?

Thanks,

Andre Costa
Chocolatier-to-be

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Hi Andre,
After 2 years of working from home with the kids around my ankles and a hundred other distractions, I have decided to do just that! We (myself and my husband) have bought a small unit on an industrial estate and will be fitting it out as our chocolate production facility. We are coupling this with a small shop in a recently refurbished retail outlet. The main advantages are that, in the UK, retail space costs a lot more than industrial space, and is generally charged per square foot, so this way, we get plenty of production and storage space, with just enough retail space to sell the chocolates and some ancillary beverages. Our final choice of shop is 350 sq ft, but we had looked at one which was 250 which would have been perfect and much cheaper! Someone beat us to it though! This dual-location set up also allows the opening of a second or third shop without the need to kit out 3 separate kitchens. I'll keep you up to date on what is going to be an exciting (but probably stressful) journey!

Diana
Hi Diana.

That's amazing! I've never thought about branching out and having one kitchen to supply the stores. That's very forward-thinking.
Thank you for your input. I understand the cost issue. Prices in Manhattan are crazy - I may need to look outside the island for a retail space.
Hi Andre. It sounds like you and I are in a similar position. I think I may be a step or two behind you though. I want to get making chocolate at home. You know on a very small scale, to get a feel for it, and make some money to put towards the shop. I by the way I am from NY as well. Any suggestions? Reply to my post. "Aspiring chocolate seller". So how did you get into chocolate? Good luck Andre!
Hi Joshua.

I believe we are exactly in the same spot! I am working from home now, not selling anything yet. Just learning and having my friends trying the chocolates I make.
A few years ago we had a store in a casino in Cairns Australia it was 2 meters x 6 meters it was very small but it was great, But we had a 300square meter in the Industrial area of cairns so the rent was a lot cheaper than the casino and it went very well. My wife and I just go back from Melbourne and a lot of chocolate shops have a very small kitchen on site to finish a few chocolates (put on a show) then they have a larger kitchen off site.

Regards
Wallace
It's been a very long haul, but we are now nearing completion on our industrial premises. Check out our progress on facebook...
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lick-the-Spoon-UK/97969759316?ref=mf#...

I have to say that the stress is starting to get to me! Every day I come across "professionals" who simply can't do their job (not chocolate professionals...more like graphic designers, financial advisers etc). Honestly, it's money for nothing what some of these guys do!
Despite having the conversation "is it all worth it, there must be easier ways to make a living" (with myself and my husband) on a regular basis, we're still passionate about it, and determined to make it work!
Wish us luck!

Diana
Diana, I guess we will always face those barriers (bad professionals, impossible to solve legal issues, government bureaucracy, etc), but that is true for pretty much any industry you are in. At least you are facing these challenges doing something you enjoy/love.

I became a fan of your Facebook page. Will now spend some time looking through it.

Opening one's first store must be so time consuming, so nerve shattering, but also so wonderful. The sense of accomplishment! I cannot wait - and look at me, just yesterday I got my first tempering machine (a Revolation 1 - ha! so small, but that's what I need now).
Good to both you and your husband!
Andre,

I started out working from home in a converted spare room. When demand grew to where I just couldn't fit the equipment/utensils/materials to work comfortably (a friend said to me that I don't work from home, I live in my factory) I leased some space and began the conversion to a production and retail facility. The entire space is 410 sq ft with the retail area being a very tiny 110! Enough for a display counter, credenza, register and other necessities. The kitchen is divided into hot and cold zones for added energy and ventilation efficiency.

I will be making my own chocolate and its related products at this facility, which should be complete in the next 2 months. Capacity will be ~100 lbs daily.

I also visited a chocolatier in Madrid whose entire kitchen, both hot and cold, was the size of my retail area! Now that was impressive use of space!
Wow!
I need to start checking out spaces in New York. It is a very tough city to start any business; but I need to start checking.
I hope you complete your space without any bumps on the road. Good luck,

Andre
You might just think about subletting some space from others too.

In NYC is chocolate considered low-risk like North Carolina? If so you can use your home for a while if you can get it inspected by the agriculture dept. ($50 here in NC). Then just rent some space from someone else, or start picking up some little table-top cold display cases for $200 and dropping them in stores.

Some intermediary thoughts as we're in the similar boats.
Andre,

If the 250 sq ft space is a good retail location, have you considered having someone else make your chocolate?

John.Rossini@travelchocolate.com

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