Owning a bakery has been a lifelong dream of mine. For years, I’ve taught myself the ins and outs of baking and cooking, and I’ve had numerous guinea pigs. The feedback I received gave me the motivation to either try again or find a way to make it better.
They say you are your own worst critic, and I really felt compelled to improve. My goal was to get that look — the one where you put something delicious in your mouth, close your eyes as a memory comes flooding back that makes you warm inside and then sigh in satisfaction. After 27 years of teaching myself, that’s what I get, and it could not feel any better.
As I was separating from the U.S. Navy, I needed to determine what I would do next. A good friend came to me and suggested that I go for my dream, so I started looking into it. Then, he suggested bagels. At the time, there were no bagel shops in the area, so I started to research and experiment with bagel recipes. I had two years before I separated, so I played around for a while. I ended up combining recipes and created one of my own that was flexible enough that I could use it as a base and make many different flavors.
Owning a bakery has been a lifelong dream of mine.
Once the recipe was down, it was time to learn how to open a business. My main concerns were the health department regulations and learning the correct ways to operate a restaurant. After going through the Boots to Business class on the Seabee base, I learned the best way to proceed was through the Small Business Administration. They offer counseling and many classes to teach you everything you need to know. I set up an appointment with an SBA counselor, and she gave me all the information I needed, as well as counseling along the way on important topics like creating your LLC, filing for permits, registering your business through the state and federal systems and so much more. She was there every step of the way, and although I’ve been open for over eight months, I still get advice and counseling. Without the SBA, I would not be as successful as I am.
The best advice I could give anyone who is considering starting her own business is to go through the SBA and do your research. Have confidence in yourself, as well as your product, and create a business plan. If you don’t have that, then you won’t get far.
There are so many ups and downs. There are people out there that will try their best to bring you down, but you can’t let them. Stay positive in everything you do, and follow your gut. Be proud! Be strong!
Stefanie Jantz is the owner and operator of BagelBees LLC, based in Long Beach. She can be reached at email@example.com or (228) 222-4145.