Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The intrepid entreprenuers, a mother-daughter team, have decided to open a BAKERY.

What, are we nuts?

No, those go in the pastries, we're just plain bonkers.

The name of our future bakery is (drumrolls please - lots of them) (oh, don't stop now) (OK, that's enough guys.) (Guys?) (Hey guys?) (SHUT UP) (There, thanks, have a cookie.) The Cracked Cauldron

Not a snazzy name for a bakery?

Well, that's because it's not just a bakery. In addition to hourly fresh baked breads and buns and rolls and calzone and pastries from around the world and cookies (what other bakery offers fresh out of the oven cookies to be eaten in the store nice and hot?), we offer a array of delicious coffees, flavored and herbal teas, flavored hot milks, flavored cold milks, a full non-alcoholic drink bar, and a variety of daily soups, all along with a variety of entertainments - local bands, open mike nights, poetry readings, Pun-Days, and so forth, with a portion of the proceeds going to help the local homeless people. And so the name Cracked Cauldron.

Eventually, we'll be adding wines and designer meads to that list of yummies. I've got to use up my oenology certification somehow, right?

OK, who are we?

Hi, I'm Moneybags. It's my house we're putting on the line for this bakery/coffeeshop/soup kitchen. It's also many of my family recipes and recipes I've designed and created in more decades than I care to think about. Oddly enough, I'm also the one with the business management education - but not bookkeeping!

And then we have Manager. She's the sociologist (degreed, yet) who wants to open the bakery, but needs someone to fund and manage it. That's Moneybags (me).

This blog is our harum-scarum adventures along the way as we plan the bakery, find a place, buy the equipment (used, but serviceable - I'm not made out of money, you know!), get insurance, locate suppliers (hey - you offer us a deal on flour, pans, spices, drop us a line - we need you!), hire coffee monkeys, flour monkeys, and stagehands, find a good accountant who can put up with creative flybrains like us, and open the bakery to the public. It will be a definite adventure.

Why are we doing this?

Well, a few years back (formative ones for Manager), we were homeless, and we weren't able to find anyone who would help us. Manager and her baby brother were small children, and they remember the months we lived in a car fondly as an adventure. Manager, however, was just old enough to know this wasn't normal. When she started college on a Sociology Major, she discovered a lot of things about what we went through that angered her and made her want to do something about it.

See, I was old when I started my family. I'd gotten my college education, career, marriage, and all those lovely things in order before I had children. Just the sort of preson who would never be homeless, right?


Premature children and cancer ruined my career and ate up my retirement funds and savings, divorce finished us off. And because I had a college degree (now 8 years out of the work force and in need of updating), was over 30, and white, we qualified for no help at all. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nix.

It was a struggle, but I managed to find consultancy work while I figured out what to do next - I couldn't afford to update my degree and get back into that field, so it had to be something new. After years of hard work, I bought a house, put the kids through college, and now, voila! We are opening a bakery to help homeless people like we were who didn't qualify for help, were turned away from every service, were forced into living out of a car (and we were lucky we had the car). It sucked that I'd paid decades of taxes (and am a good little taxpayer again), but couldn't get any help when we most needed it because my tax dollars (and probably yours, too) went to people who never were and probably never would be taxpayers. So, we'll still pay those sucky taxes, but we'll spend our real money giving real help - via The Cracked Cauldron.

The money earned at it will support us (of course! We may be bonkers, but we're not stupid), support the business, and fund a homeless resource center. We won't be accepting government money for this because government regulations will prevent us from helping the very people we feel most needs the help - the working homeless, the displaced homeless, and the temporarily homeless - people with no children, singles, couples, mostly.

What?!?!? You didn't know that almost 60% of the homeless people have jobs? Well, they do. Most of them are homeless through a series of unfortunate events, bad luck, and bad planning. And some are homeless because of criminal acts and greedy ex-spouses. None of them qualify for welfare assistance. Just like we didn't. And all of them want to get a home and live a happy life. Just like us.

The Cracked Cauldron will provide us with the funding to begin this.

America is not the Land of the Free, because we have discovered just how much some of the licensing fees are, and the binding rules and regulations.

Check back to see how well we navigate the obstacles!

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