Monday, May 7, 2018

2018/05/07 - Pie Business

It all started when Val lost her job as an architect in downtown Denver a couple of months ago. She was starting to hate her job.  It seemed like in every job she’s had in Denver, there’s always one or two racist bitches that make her life miserable. She was ready to try something new.

We have always talked about starting a small business, and this was the perfect time for her. During this time, she had made a delicious Brazilian meat pie for me, and started dreaming of selling Brazilian meat pies.

Knowing a little something about selling food, I didn’t latch on to her dream right away. But like a little girl, she kept pleading and bugging until I finally said yes. I was more impressed by her enthusiasm, then her idea. Ultimately that’s the kind of business partner I want. 

We decided that I should handle the administrative side of the business, whereas she would handle the product. 

I chose the name “A Taste of Brazil”, and registered it as an LLC with the Colorado Secretary of State. I got a Federal Tax ID. I opened up a business bank account. I purchased a URL. I registered with the Colorado Department of Revenue for taxes. I listened to podcasts and read everything I could find on starting a business in the food industry. 

We were on a roll!

Then one morning, in the middle of my bike ride, while I was dreaming the dream, Val call to say she got a job offer that she couldn’t refuse. I was hugely disappointed, but I didn’t let on. What disappointed me most was how quickly she dropped the dream, and went on to something better. But I knew she was doing the right thing, as this could easily turn out to be another of Steve’s follies, and it really was an offer she couldn’t refuse. 

It took me about a week to recover. I can always find the silver lining in every cloud, but this took a lot of searching. Finally I decided to move forward alone. Val would still be a partner in the LLC, but now I would have almost complete control. There would be no more arguments over the color of the packaging, the size of the pies, etc. She would no longer have time for these little decisions. I could be decisive and move forward quickly. 

I knew I couldn’t move into production alone, but I figured I could get the business ready to produce product whenever we were ready. It was not like we were counting on making money from the business yet. 

At this point we have an appointment with a commissary in Arvada next Saturday, and I need to get the necessary business insurance, and licenses. I also need to start paying quarterly sales tax returns, even if we don’t collect any sales tax. And of course there’s the final product, packaging, and distribution. 

It’s funny how the more I learned about the food business, the more our product has changed. We started out making delicious 5” beef and chicken pot pies. I didn’t like the size. I personally felt that it was too much for the average person as a single serving. I can easily see someone overeating them and getting tired of them quickly, and never having another one. I know I’ve done this with foods I once thought were delicious, for example pan cakes. As a boy I got sick from eating too many pan cakes smothered with syrup and butter. I haven’t had one since. 

I learned that I have to use a commissary (an approved commercial kitchen) to cook, package, and store my product, the economics started to change. Then I found out that I could not cook meat products if I planned to sell to restaurants and grocery stores. 

All of a sudden, we switched from meat pies to organic vegetarian pies. So we had to change our recipe, and to be honest we haven’t come up with anything as good as the meat pies. 

Regardless, we have plenary of time to come up with the ultimate organic vegetarian pie. In the meantime, I’ve been testing my competition, eating at least one every day. The bar is low…

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