Waiting!!! That’s what we’ve been doing for the last two weeks.
But I start at the end, I didn’t tell you about our last trip to Florida, in January, to find the premises of our future bakery. We had planned a two-week stay at the end of January in order to find the ideal location (or at least a good one, because the American market is doing well and there is not much business to sell or good free space).
Before leaving, we had gone through the BBF (Business broker of Florida) list of businesses for sale by serious real estate agents. We then found two bakery businesses (or nearby) for sale in Clearwater (on the west coast, among the most beautiful beaches in the United States) and the other in Fort Lauderdale (near Miami). But also two empty places where we could make a creation. One in St Augustine and the other in Orlando, two cities we love.
We were therefore eager to go there to visit and check whether our doubts and hopes would prove to be well-founded. Indeed, each location had its strengths and weaknesses. They were ranked in order of preference: Orlando, Clearwater, St. Augustine and Fort Lauderdale to finish. Sylvain, our Broker (who we thank again) on the spot made the appointments for the first week, all we had to do was take the plane to Florida.
Once we arrived, we began to locate the site before the visits, which only began a few days later. This allowed us to visit St Augustine’s in advance on a lucky guess. Indeed, it was Sunday morning, the day before Martin Luther King day (a U.S. statutory holiday). The broker of the local (a former restaurant, which had closed) was present to show other customers around, so after a short 15 minutes of patience we were able to visit in our turn. Conclusion the local required a lot of work to make it a really operational bakery and the location did not seem to us to be sufficiently frequented.
The next day, heading for Fort Lauderdale (north of Miami), to visit a small local “bakery”, in fact the room was very small and did not have a manufacturing laboratory so once again we had to eliminate it.
So before we even started the official visits we had already eliminated half of our possibilities. But the good thing is that the two possibilities that remained were the one we preferred. See you on Tuesday for the first one, that is Clearwater, which on paper was very promising and in one of the most beautiful corners of Florida. It’s a three-hour drive, once you get there, the neighborhood is really not the best in the area. The visit goes well, the owner, a very nice French pastry chef, explains his concept to us, which unfortunately contains more than half of his turnover in catering, which I have absolutely no control over and which is far from our project. So we’re abandoning this one too.
So we still have the empty space in Orlando, an old 215 square meter café that is a little above our budget, but whose location is really ideal: close to schools, located on the parking lot of a supermarket with many different shops around. Just see if we can adapt it to our project.
So on Wednesday, we go there for the visit accompanied by Sylvain and our equipment dealer who knows the American market very well in order to get their opinion on the quality of the premises. And which pleasant surprise to see that the room has a large space at the back for the laboratory and also has two beautiful cold rooms. Good news is that we are not the only ones interested, in addition there may also be another French baker on the spot.
We make our proposal the same evening to the owner and start projecting ourselves and putting forward our arguments to convince him. After a week and a half of waiting, sending documents, we learn that there are three of us in the running. The return date has already arrived and we still don’t know more. Fortunately, we can sign the lease remotely if this is confirmed for us.
We have been hearing the news for a few days now, our file is in a good position to be chosen, and they have to send us the draft lease next week. We cross our fingers not to find a clause in it that we could not accept, because even with all the motivation and impatience that surrounds us, we must remain objective and not accept conditions that would make our expatriation difficult.
On the other hand, the sale of the house is also progressing well, the move starts tomorrow and we go to the notary in ten days.
So as I was telling you