This is a business owner who has reached out to Slow Money NC.
Business Owner: Janee Allen
Business Name: Sour Bakery
Location: Graham, NC
How did you hear about Slow Money NC?: 2 sources: through Impact Alamance and via a female entrepreneur group loosely based in Durham.
Tell us your story. Who are you? What is your business idea? Tell us your plan. Feel free to get into the details.: Sour Bakery has been in operation for 3 years. We specialize in slow fermented bread and pastries (traditionally known as sourdough). We currently operate out of a shared space in Durham that is not meant for baking. We are in two successful Farmers Markets (Chapel Hill and Fearrington Village) and have a number of wholesale clients in Alamance County. We are trying to move from the shared space to a brick and mortar in Downtown Burlington (a growing but underutilized community). Once here we will be well placed to provide quality and healthful breads and pastries to the community of Downtown Burlington and the greater community. Right now we are acquiring the commercial equipment we will need when we eventually find the right location, and take that step.
Please briefly describe your commitment to sustainable food systems in North Carolina.: As vendors in Farmers Markets we frequently use produce from our other vendors. Our flour is primarily from Lindley Mills in Alamance County. We know that having a successful and thriving farming and producers community helps the entire infrastructure and keeps our communities healthy, vibrant, and resilient.
What will your sales be? What do you anticipate your profits/your margins will look like? How will you make the money to pay this loan back?: We are in our third year, and use Square to track our sales. Our sales are consistently exceeding 100% growth over last year. I am in my second year of being self-sustained by Sour Bakery (meaning I don’t have to work a second job to pay for myself). Last year our gross sales were a little over $50,000.00. Assuming that our busy season continues to grow, albeit at a lower pace, we feel that we can hit $75,000.00 in sales. A brick and mortar would gives us more space to produce in and a consistent place and time to gain new customers who can not attend our markets, or do not shop at our wholesale locations.
Have you borrowed money before? How much did you borrow? From where? How long was the term? Is there a balance still due on that loan?: Sour Bakery had not borrowed money before, beyond our company credit card. With that, we usually have the money on hand, use the card and pay it a few days later. But we recently purchased a commercial convection oven with a bank loan at 8% interest. We are hoping to use a Slow Money loan for the next purchase of a conventional mixer.
Do you have people who would vouch for your credit worthiness? Who are they?:
Yes, we can supply these upon request.
Tell us about your business background. Have you been in business before?: Sour Bakery started in 2009 as barter/trade/for fun. We have been an official business for 3 years in North Carolina.
How much money do you need to borrow to make your project work? How long do you think you would need to pay that back?: [Please contact Janee or Carol directly about this.]
Are there other lenders involved in your project or business?: Not yet, we are applying for Downtown Burlington grants, and female entrepreneur funding.
What is your timeline for this project? Would you like it to start in a month? 6 months? A year?: We would like to start as soon as possible.
Is there anything else we forgot to ask you?: Why do we want a brick and mortar in Downtown Burlington?
Downtown Burlington is an under utilized and under served community. There are no grocery stores in walking distance beyond quick stops. Our bread and pastries would be a healthier option in that community, and within price range for most of the people living in that area. We also intend to roll out a to go meal night one day a week to provide nourishing food the homeless population in the downtown area. We want to be a community involved business that helps grow the economy of a beautiful community.
OLD OVEN then NEW OVEN!