Let’s drop in on the Tattoo Girl again!
This post is standalone, but if you’d like to read earlier installments, please see links at the end of this post.
It was harder than Jaime expected to find a new job. The only thing that came up was retail, retail, retail, and while she had nothing against working in retail as a practice, she didn’t think it had much to do with art. She had promised herself to make sure the next job had something in it for her, art-wise.
But looking for a job while holding down a full-time job was not especially appealing. Even off-loading much of the management questions onto Corey at work, she still came home at night and collapsed on the couch. She asked her friend Yvonne from down the hall about it. Yvonne had mentioned she’d been a manager at the local Game Stop store when they met a few months ago. Jaime ran into Yvonne in the laundry room in her building and she told her how she’d been asked to be a temporary co-manager at work.
“Yeah,” Yvonne said, sorting clothes on the long table in front of the machines, “they say management is the way up. But really, it’s just more responsibility for slightly more money. At least in retail.”
Jaime loaded her laundry into the washer and wanded her card across the reader on the front of the machine. “Why do you do it?” she asked.
“Pays the bills. Why else?” Yvonne answered.
Huh. “What would you do if you could have your choice of jobs?” Jaime asked.
Yvonne sighed. “I’ve always wanted to be a chef.”
“Own your own restaurant?”
“Nope. Pastry chef.” Yvonne stacked her rolled towels into her bright purple plastic laundry basket and started on the other items.
“Oh, yum!” Jaime exclaimed. “Cakes? Cupcakes? That kind of thing?”
“Do you have to go to pastry school to learn how?”
“Yeah, I’ve done that. It’s just that you need an internship, and those are unpaid. You know. So, until I save up the money for it, I’m Ms. Game Stop Manager. For now.”
Jaime clicked the app on her phone that would tell the washer to text her when it was done. Then she said, “There’s no other way?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I’ve thought about opening my own place.”
“Cupcakes are big, right?” Jaime said. “That might work out.”
“Nah.” Yvonne frowned. “Cupcakes are over.”
“Really?” Jaime thought there was still some cachet in upscale boutique cupcake stores. But Yvonne would know.
“Yeah. It’s cookies now.”
Oh! Cookies! The taste of buttery sugar cookies flooded into Jaime’s mouth. Her grandmother’s snickerdoodles, with the cinnamony topping and melt-in-your-mouth body. Cream cheese puffs. Chocolate-chocolate toffee bites.
“That sounds scrumptious,” she said. “Why don’t you open a cookie shop? I’d go there!”
“Well, yeah. But there’s a big barrier to entry when you open your own place,” Yvonne said. “I’ve done the numbers. It’s pretty awful. – First and last month’s rent, a year-long lease, at least. And that’s just the outside. Then there’s furnishings, tables, baking cases, ovens, all that stuff. Costs as much as buying a house.”
“You could get a loan -”
“Even then, you’d have to wait a couple of years before you made a profit. At least, that’s according to the SBA. – Small Business Administration.”
There had to be a way. Jaime thought about it all the way back to her apartment. I mean, cookies, in this neighborhood! A shoo-in. Down the block they were developing that old brick store-front that used to be a hookah lounge. Ugh. Cute building. And there were plenty of twenty-somethings in the neighborhood, didn’t they go for that kind of thing, quick sugar kick, specialized menu? She could add an espresso bar – Jaime had read there was a huge markup on coffee drinks. It might make enough to cover what might be a small margin on the cookies themselves.
But . . . there was that problem with furnishings and equipment. You needed a kitchen to make baked goods, no getting around it. Even if you got a few café tables from a used furnishings place, there were regulations involved in setting up a food business. Yvonne was probably right.
But . . . all evening Jaime couldn’t stop thinking about it. There must be a way.
Mr. Mittens sat close to Jaime as she watched reruns of “Modern Family” on cable. Phil, the realtor, was always trying some hare-brained scheme to get more real estate business. Maybe she could pick up some ideas.
What do you think? Have you ever worked in a small business or opened one of your own? What was it like? Does Yvonne even have a chance, or is the idea doomed? And what about Jaime’s longing for a new job?
Tattoo Girl – Part 1 here.|Part 2 here.|Part 3 here.| Part 4 here.|Part 5 here.| Part 6 here. | Part 7 here. | Part 8 here. | Part 9 here. | Part 10 here. | Part 11 here. | Part 12 here. | Part 13 here.
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