Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Apollo Garcia, Owner of Everything But Donuts Bakery, located in Southaven, MS, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We own Everything But Donuts Bakery and Bistro, as well as First Choice Catering. Our bakery customers are anyone who enjoys fresh breads, pastries, sweets, macarons, sandwiches, or gourmet coffee drinks. Our catering customers are private individuals, businesses, and corporations of any size that has reason to provide meal services to guests, family, friends, employees, or others. We create wonderful individualized menus to fit your budget and your event goals.
Tell us about yourself
I started baking at nine years old. From the moment I stepped into the kitchen, I knew I was born to bake and cook. Although I only dabbled in it as a hobby or, on occasions, I could host others, I did not pursue baking and cooking as a career until a couple of years ago. I lost my job as a casualty of COVID-19, and I started my cheesecake business out of a food truck. It was quite a struggle getting established during COVID. Although I did have to shut down temporarily, I was able to relocate to the south, where I re-established my business and opened my first brick-and-mortar store. I love to bake new and interesting things, I truly enjoy interacting with my customers, and I absolutely thrive off giving others new food experiences and showing them endless possibilities in the kitchen.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Opening my store has been a huge undertaking. We are still new, but every day we are reaching more and more customers. Every time someone new comes in, we hear the same thing, "OMG, I love this (fill in the blank)! How did I not know you guys were here until now?"
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Finding time to do everything. Running multiple businesses, growing the customer base, creating new products and recipes, and making sure the ordering is done, and the books are in order all at the same time. But it is also such an amazing feeling when you are able to catch up with it all and take a moment to look around and say, "Wow! This is incredible."
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First and above all else, talk to lots of people in the industry and ask them about their challenges or what they would do differently if given the opportunity. Then really listen to those suggestions; it could save you hours of stress and give you a little peace of mind.
Second, Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. You're going to work yourself hard the first couple of years, so it's important you take some regularly scheduled time to take care of yourself and do the things you find relaxing and fun.
Lastly, It's OK to make mistakes. No matter your experience or your level of education, there will be a learning curve. Don't expect to make all the right decisions all the time. Don't even expect to make all the right decisions on any one day!! You're human, and so are your customers. When you mess something up, accept it, own it, make it as right as possible, and move on. You got this. And when you don't think you do, call that person in your life that always has your back. The one that supports your craziest dreams and knows your dream of business ownership is far from crazy. Don't have one of those? Call me. Been there, done that, and I got your back.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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