It’s been a week since my last post and I have made a lot of progress, but still don’t have a final answer on the loan. With that being said, I heard from the underwriter this morning at the SBA and he asked me some questions. I’ve been told that the goal is to finalize the package for review on Monday and presentation to the loan committee on Wednesday. Hopefully that will really happen.
Other updates from this week include:
– Meeting with the health department supervisor. She was very nice and gave me lots of good information.
– Meeting both of my restaurant consultants this past week. Both gave me very valuable advice.
– Researching all of the things I need to do in order to use the almond milk flavors we are creating in my store. In a few weeks, once we are 100% happy with the chocolate and plain base, we will send those out for chemical testing. That takes about a month and once we receive that info, the food scientist that I am working with will be able to figure out all of the nutritional information for all of the flavors. So glad to have him on my team. Then, I need to register the flavors with the CDFA. Then, I need to decide if I want to get certified organic which apparently is only needed if I want to use the official stamp. All of this is a little more costly than I was hoping, but will be so worth it in the end.
– Got one AC quote but need to get one more in order for the property management company to agree to pay for some or all of it. Working on that now. Then we negotiate – oh joy!
Tomorrow morning, I meet with another restaurant designer/engineer to get an estimate on doing the plans and construction. I’ve met with so many and will have to pick one soon. I guess the problem is the ones I think will do the best job and can also do the MEP plans are very expensive so I keep hoping to find someone I really like at the right price.
I think a lot will be determined next week so I guess I should rest up for now.
It really feels like it is going to happen now.
This past Saturday, I had a scare about losing the space. It’s a long story but I ended up paying the property manager a deposit in order to hold the space for a month. I just didn’t want to worry anymore. I actually have 2 possible ways of getting the money now and I feel there is a very good chance that both possibilities will be resolved within this next month. The deposit was worth my peace of mind. I’m so close.
I had some family over this weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday and they tasted the chocolate and vanilla. They loved the chocolate which made me so happy. The vanilla needs a little tweaking, but we knew that. It’s interesting to see the reaction when people taste my product. I think they can start to see my business even clearer than before. My Aunt even came up with a great name for my product. More on that later.
I’m really starting to get excited now. Tomorrow, I meet with the inspector from the health department for a meet & greet. I will get clarity on the process and start to form a relationship with her so the approvals will hopefully go smoothly. On Friday, an AC technician is meeting me at the space for an estimate on a new AC. Once I have that, I can finalize negotiations with the property management company.
Lots to do, but I feel more at ease about the whole thing. Something shifted and it just seems like things are lining up.
A few days ago, my R&D team and I met up at Taylor Freezers to taste the strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate that they were working on. It went pretty well. My favorite is chocolate and it tasted really good. The cocoa was a little strong so it needs slight tweaking but it’s almost there. That was pretty exciting. I’m going to have my own chocolate flavor. Who knew this would ever happen. I just hope that others like it too.
The strawberry and vanilla were good as well, but they also need slight tweaking. We are getting there.
Once I get confirmation on the loan, the timing of the R&D will need to speed up. After we do the flavors, we still need to create smoothies and I hope to do fresh yogurt and waffle cones too. It’s a lot in a short time but it will be fun!
So much happened during the last few days, I don’t know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the most important, the SBA accepted my proposed management team. I have 2 great resources and I’m excited to be working with them. I just got the email tonight. I think it means the loan will go through. It’s crazy. I’m so excited but it doesn’t feel real. I will call tomorrow to confirm.
More good news. I immediately emailed the property manager for the space I want and it is still available. Yay!
Even more good news. I met with the guy who does the inspection for milk/dairy and although for months I’ve been told that I needed to have a pasteurizer, it’s official that I DO NOT need to have one. I’m soooo happy about this. It will save me a lot of money and make the mix process so much easier. It’s big!
I’ll post about this tomorrow, but my R&D team and I went to Taylor this week to taste the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Very exciting…..