Bell and Whistle, a small bakery, wants to turn a vintage camping trailer into a traveling gluten free commercial kitchen. Read more
This project was successfully funded on April 2, 2011.
A long-awaited update (sorry!)
Hello, my angels. I know you've been waiting a long time for an update. I kept hoping I'd have better news to share with you- like an opening date- and putting it off because I didn't. I've also been extraordinarily busy- I started work on my second bachelor's degree this fall, this time going for a BS in Nutrition. I know, yes, I do make things that no nutritionist wants you to put in your mouth. The irony is not lost on me. But food is my passion and I'm devoting my life to it! It's no excuse for the lack of communication, but I've been working hard on all fronts and other things keep getting pushed to the back of the line.
So what's going on with the trailer? The good news is that the renovations are all but complete. There are a few finishing touches here and there (when aren't there, in any construction project), but all I really have left to do is plug in the appliances, hang the signs, and get baking. But therein lies the rub.
A couple of months ago, I was working on applying for my kitchen inspection when a zoning question came up. As it turns out, I am not allowed to keep a "commercial vehicle" at my home in my township. Period. Hence the signs not being hung up yet- until I do that, my trailer just looks like an ordinary camper! There went my (I now realize naive) plans to keep the trailer at home, with no rent to pay and no commute.
So began a quest to find a commercial parking space. The requirements were unfortunately odd- I had to be able to bake there. It had to be reasonably close to my home and the markets so I wasn't spending ridiculous amounts of time and gas getting back and forth. The rent had to be reasonable enough that it wouldn't entirely eat up my profits- after all, going rent free had been part of the appeal of a mobile kitchen rather than a permanent building. I had to have access to electricity and to water, at least for dumping wastewater and hopefully refilling tanks, too. As a bonus, it would be nice if I could sell directly from that lot, too, in order to be able to make some money on non-market days.
As you can imagine, finding a spot that meets all of these qualifications has been difficult to the point of absurdity. Local ordinances are not, unfortunately, very friendly to mobile food projects. The good news is that I think I've found my spot, and it is ideal in pretty much every way. The bad news is that I can't access it yet, because the building the lot is attached to is undergoing renovations and that is where the construction vehicles will have to park. At this point, I have had to kiss goodbye the idea that I could get the trailer up and running in time for this farmers' market season. I know it's disappointing for a lot of people, and I'm sure you can imagine how frustrating it's been for me.
So here's the summary: right now I think I probably will not be fully operational and licensed until spring. Without a proper address I can't get the kitchen licensed (or I could, but then the zoning people would be after me in about a week), and so I can't legally sell food. What I am going to do for my backers is to go ahead and send out the non-food rewards: the posters, the tote bags, the t-shirts, etc. That will be happening over the next couple of weeks, so please check the address you've given me, if you've moved since inputting it. As soon as the kitchen is operational (and I mean the second it is licensed and ready to go), food rewards will be sent out, with a little something extra to make up for the exceedingly long wait.
In the meantime, I am going to go ahead and open the Etsy store soon to sell tote bags, posters, t-shirts, and other promotional-type material that takes my fancy, just to keep a little revenue flowing. I'll post a link as soon as it opens, and keep you folks updated on what's going on there. I'll also be posting the occasional preview picture of baked goods, and maybe even a recipe or two. Have a gluten free baking question? Ask away!
Again, I'm so sorry for the long wait for answers, and I'm sorry I can't get your goodies out to you as quickly as I'd like. If there is one thing running a food business has taught me, it is patience. If there's another thing it has taught me, it is that the supply of red tape in the world is absolutely limitless.