Sandy Tull began her baking career baking for family and friends on the side while providing in-home child care. She eventually became licensed to sell baked goods from her home, but it wasn’t until she received encouragement from others that she decided to open her own bakery, Sweet Spot.
With the only outside seating located right on the river in town, Sweet Spot offers customers a variety of bakery items, sandwiches, soups, coffee and just recently beer and wine. Sandy, alongside her 4 part-time employees, strive to offer customers a premiere restaurant environment. The business opened on February 6th and continues to grow every month.
Sandy reached out to the Chamber of Commerce Office in Independence and was referred to Dan Beenken at the Small Business Development Center at University of Northern Iowa. Dan assisted Sandy with a various amount of things from a spreadsheet to project sales, to creating a budget and calculating expenses. Sandy and Dan compiled ideas for a menu for the restaurant. Dan used his knowledge of the area to suggest menu options.
Sandy describes her experience with the SBDC as “wonderful— Dan was confident in me, which gave me confidence. He gave me ideas, but also listened to ideas I had to share.”
Since the opening, Sandy has seen her sales increase each month. Just within the last 3 months, she has been able to stay in the clear. She hopes to better understand the market, continue to make additions and menu changes, and increase sales to expand.
Sandy advertises in the local newspaper, uses signage, social media and word-of-mouth to market her business. She also includes her business cards on bakery goods and at catering events to advertise.
In the community, Sweet Spot provides donations and gift cards for local organizations. She also helps support charity events in her area.
Sandy says, “I would recommend anyone ready to start a business to contact the SBDC. They are very encouraging and even if you just leave the meetings with encouragement, it will be well worth the time spent.”
To learn more about this unique bakery and restaurant, visit their website at http://www.sweetspotia.com or their Facebook page at Sweet Spot.