I feel good about life at 36. I’ve been to college, birthed two children, owned a successful coffee business, written a book, renovated a farmhouse, worked with some of my favorite brands, had hard conversations, lost friendships, gained friendships, survived 13 years of marriage (ha), baked more cookies than I could ever count and finally opened a bake shop.
The opening of Jenny Cookies Bake Shop is at the very top of my proudest accomplishments list. It was single handedly the most difficult thing I’ve done. Yes, I’ve been baking for 11 years. No surprise there. But opening a brick and mortar business from start to finish was one of the most daunting tasks I’ve ever taken on.
In January of 2016 we found an existing cupcake shop seven miles from our house that was interested in selling. The owner was looking to condense her multi location business into one location. Perfect for us. The Lake Stevens space was small and off the beaten path, but just the right spot to take custom orders and finally say yes to huge corporate orders I’d been turning down for years. We had a deal.
For several months I continued working on blog projects, partnerships and seasonal campaigns with brands while keeping up with our life at the Keller Farmhouse. Two kids, three goats, four cats and five acres can keep ya busy! We finally got started on our bake shop remodel in May. And when I say started, I think we tore a tv off the wall. It was a slow process.
My sister’s fiance Andrew (of Eylander Tile) took on the many hats of renovating a bake shop. He went from custom tile to architect, designer, builder, tiler, electrician, painter, you name it, he did it. The only thing in our entire shop he didn’t install were the marble countertops. Everything else, Andrew. He is the most talented and creative artist I know.
The shop transformation took a little longer than I had anticipated. We had originally hoped to open by Aquafest, the town’s annual summer celebration. I laugh just thinking about being open by the end of July. I think we had gutted the floor by July. Then came August. Didn’t happen. September was out because of back-to-school and then October flew by. In early November I said we have to open in December.
I spent November working day and night, sleeping from 3am-5am. Sure, there were a million things going on leading up to this month, but nothing like the month of November. Hiring, ordering, recipe testing, stocking, planning, marketing, shopping, organizing, scheduling, forecasting…my to-do list was basically until eternity. I won’t complain about how little I slept, how frustrating things could be or how many times I said “This is insane for one person to take on!!!” I’ll just say this. It was a lot of work and it continues to be a lot of work, but I’m really proud of Jenny Cookies Bake Shop.
My favorite part of any project is the transformation. I love a good before and after.
What do you think?
Photography by Solie Designs