Daddy’s Dough Cookies is in the process of securing our own baking facility. We’ve grown a lot since our initial entry into the business in 2015. So how did we end up here? Why do we need our own space?
We started baking in our home using a conventional oven. The state of Michigan allowed us to sell baked goods under the cottage food law. We would solicit orders on Facebook and respond to customers as orders were received. We often gave cookies away as gifts. We had a very small loyal fanbase. This was largely family and friends.
In the summer of 2016, we participated in our first farmers market at Grand Valley State University. This was one of few markets that allowed businesses without a commercial license to participate. The next summer we added the Kentwood Farmers Market. We also picked up many orders via email and through a basic google form. It was an excellent side hustle.
2018 brought many changes to our business. We picked up the first of five weddings for the year. It’s also when I decided to quit my full-time job. I figured the farmers markets could supplement us for a little while. The pressure was on. We baked over 600 cookies for a wedding in late May of 2018. It was this moment that let us know we needed to consider a commercial kitchen space. A little extra push came when we met the new manager of a local grocery store, owned by Meijer, the Bridge Street Market. Also knowing that this would get us a foot into the Fulton Street Farmers Market as well.
In June 2018 we received our commercial license. We paid hourly to use a commercial kitchen in downtown Grand Rapids. This was a great place to start. We had top notch equipment and learned from others in the kitchen. As our business grew, we needed more hours. Profits were scarce. We also had to share the kitchen with a lot of other business. Some of our ingredients were being taken by others, with no consequences. We also had a school using the building at critical hours. This made the kitchen off limits. We needed to move.
In March 2019 we moved to a new kitchen where we were able to negotiate a flat rate for a set number of hours. We were the first business to regularly use this kitchen. We were given a good deal because no one was using the space. The owners were experienced at running a business but not a kitchen. We saw our greatest growth in this place. We were able to fine tune processes. We started working with Horrocks and Fresh Thyme. We entered another season with Fulton Street. We were rocking and rolling. Over time more businesses used the kitchen. It became very chaotic. We’d have to work third shift to complete projects. There were even times we were told we couldn’t use the kitchen. Once the pandemic hit, everything hit the fan. We were seeing unprecedented levels of business, we had to change it up because all our events were cancelled, including some farmers markets. During this time the kitchen became an unexpected hotbed for political propaganda. We felt out of place. We were desperate to leave. We spent a year looking for a location. Another group in the kitchen was on the same page. When they found a place, we tagged along.
We hired an assistant manager in February 2021. Up until this time we’d have seasonal employees but never anyone permanent. This was largely due to the uncertainty of income or work for the employee.
In March 2021 we moved to our current location. This location offered us the best situation to date. We have nearly unlimited access to the kitchen for a fair rate. We also share the kitchen with fewer organizations. There are still times in which it is difficult to access the kitchen. There are times when the owners of the kitchen need to use it and that puts us out. There are also structural issues with the facility that can delay baking. The unpredictability of the space has created stressful times.
That brings us here. We have identified a kitchen that meets our needs. We are now asking for your help as we seek to transition to our very own baking facility. This move will help us to expand our offerings, increase the number of weekly shipping dates, restock stores more quickly, and hire more staff.
To support our fundraiser please head over to our GoFundMe Page.
Contributions can also be sent to: