February 25, 2019 was an exciting day for The Cookie Cups: We officially received approval of our permit to build our second bakery in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Since then, we’ve been hard at work gutting, remodeling, renovating, and cleaning up our new storefront to prepare for our August 2019 Grand Opening. If you’ve been following our social media pages, you know it’s been a long time coming, but we are so excited to finally be expanding to 600 Market Street, #105.
While we’re still in the final stages of opening The Cookie Cups Chanhassen, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the process, from the initial location scouting to our upcoming Opening Day.
Opening a bakery, step-by-step
Building a bakery is more than buying a couple of ovens and putting up a fresh coat of paint. Here’s what we’ve done over the last six months to bring the Chanhassen storefront to life:
1. Find a property
Some would-be bakery owners spend months viewing property listing and touring locations to find their perfect space. We were fortunate: Both of our storefront spaces found us!
“The locations presented themselves to me,” says Nicole Pomije, creator of The Cookie Cups. “Wayzata (Navarre) is in a spot I would drive by every day and it was empty for months. I thought it was a “sign” -- and it was. For Chanhassen, I actually called my realtor about another location I drove by and wanted to check out. He got me information for a different property. It turned out to be the right place.”
2. Negotiate and sign a lease.
With a restaurant space, it takes a little bit of back and forth to negotiate your lease terms. Bakery owners need to consider the construction work that has to go into their project before signing. If you have a good landlord, they may agree to help with some of the initial costs and take a few months of rent off while you are renovating.
3. Design your store concept and layout.
This is the most important thing you will do before you open a bakery. The entire construction project will be run by this initial plan. Hire an architect you trust and enjoy working with -- we do not recommend the “do it yourself” route!
“For me, this is a really positive and fun part of this process because it’s literally putting the design on paper and you can start to visualize the look,” Nicole says.
4. Obtain permits.
No matter what kind of commercial space you’re developing, there will always be building permits to obtain from the local city government. Only when our permits were approved could we begin breaking ground in our soon-to-be storefront.
5. Gut the space.
Some bakeries are able to purchase an existing restaurant or bakery and make some minor modifications to get it ready. We had to tear out everything in our new space and rebuild from scratch to transform it into The Cookie Cups.
With a finalized design plan in hand, our crew got to work on turning the now-empty space into a bakery. We put up new walls, purchased all the necessary kitchen equipment, installed new lighting and utility lines, picked out the decor, and set up our serving counter and cafe.
7. Final inspections
Once our renovations are complete, a representative from Chanhassen’s municipal department has to come and make sure all of our upgrades and remodels are up to code. This is the last thing that happens before we open our doors.
We are so close to this final step in the process and can’t wait to begin serving our cookie cups in Market Square!
What’s new in Chanhassen?
Because we’ve built a bakery before, the process of building The Cookie Cups Chanhassen has been 100% enjoyable and smooth. As with any new experience, we had a few hiccups in building our flagship storefront, but this time around, we were able to streamline those problems and make the process more cost-effective.
What Nicole has enjoyed most about the process is the planning, from coming up with the layout to working with The Cookie Cups’ graphic designer on our interior and exterior signage. Her goal for Chanhassen was to make it a little more “glamorous” than our Wayzata/Navarre location.
“Navarre is beautiful but it’s just a little different,” says Nicole. “Customers are going to love Chanhassen!
So what can you expect at Store #2? We’ll still have our classic Cookie Cups food and beverage menu, a (bigger!) cafe space, cooking classes, catering, and private event hosting, just like at Store #1. However, we’re really excited about our new Tasting Room for private wedding and catered event clients.
“It is beautiful and customers will be able to experience our menu while also getting an idea for how their event could look,” Nicole says. “It’s one of the most exciting new additions to the Chanhassen space that we are really proud of and can’t wait to show off!”