Whether your business is food related or not, ‘constructing a business’ is quite the experience. Throughout the process of getting the doors to Square One Kitchens open and ready to roll, I learned a lot about construction and about myself. The pictures throughout this post are of the building while it was under construction – most of which we did ourselves. We really know the ins and outs of this place now and it’s like owning a second home. But not the vacation home on the lake or down south – it’s a second home 5 minutes from my real home where I have to remind myself that I don’t actually live here. It’s that kind of 2nd home.
Growing up in a DIY family and having a degree in Architecture, I thought I would have a pretty good handle on how things would play out during the construction of Square One Kitchens. I knew my stud spacing, kept plumbing layout in mind, used the height of the ceiling to my advantage and so on and so forth. What I didn’t account for is how hard it is to schedule contractors, how nothing goes as planned and how budgets end up being mere suggestions when everything is said and done – and that’s just dealing with the physical space. It took a while but I learned my extremely passive-not-so-aggressive ways were not going to do the trick here.
When I started Love in the Oven Bakery it was simple. My overhead was minimal because I was renting a commercial kitchen from my previous employer. I spend ‘x’ amount on ingredients and ‘y’ amount on rent. X + Y = Love in the Oven Bakery’s Expenses. Easy peasy.
Square One and nearly every other business ever, are whole other beasts. We’ve got bills, we’ve got risk, advertising, clients, broken equipment and the like. My favorite part is the clients – working with them, interacting and learning about what they do is honest-to-goodness my favorite part of this place. My least favorite part is things that don’t work. Say for instance – and this is totally hypothetical and most definitely never did actually happen to me – you set the oven to 350F, put some bars in there and 5 minutes later smell a hint of undesirable burning. Well – that would be your oven’s thermostat deciding it’s not going to regulate the flame and instead heats to roughly 500F. My bars didn’t stand a chance.
Business is ultimately beautiful. Determining your own destiny or fate through your actions and hard work is truly fulfilling. I do sometimes miss a paycheck where I know if I work so many hours I will get paid for every single one of those hours but I find that when I go home each day I feel fulfilled in what I am doing and where I’m going (or at least where I think I am going).
For a while I started forgetting what this place looked like – how much time we had spent here, the people who were here late at night helping us tear down and rebuild to make a shabby office building into a culinary incubator, how much pizza we ate and beer we drank, how my marriage survived dedicating all our free time to getting this place finished. So, I framed all of these pictures in this post and hung them on my office wall to remind myself along with a quote that keeps me real:
“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt