Location is unfriendly
I was so excited to have the backing of everyone to open a cookie shop. Event the location scouted and approved by everyone was ideal.
What we didn’t know was that the location was unfriendly and doesn’t like open competition, we didn’t find this out until it was too late.
I was in the process of getting a location set up at the 407 Great Smokey Flea Market in Sevireville as a bakery, waiting to move inside. We had inspectors coming and equipment that was approved by the county to be set up. I was excited.
The man that comes around and takes the fees told me to leave.
First he was unfamiliar with the cottage food laws. He was still working under the old once a month you can sell baked goods for charity only rule. So he pretty much lambasted me for being there two weekends in a row. When I wanted to show him all my paper work, including waivers and certificates, he didn’t want to see them.
He said “I don’t know what your talking about, it means nothing to me” throwing the papers back at me”, then he made a sweeping gesture “this is not allowed, pack up and go or I will have you escorted off the property”. I tried one more time to show him the paperwork and he said you have to be “licensed by the health department to sell baked goods at all”. The health inspector was there and he even looked at my paperwork and passed me.
Everything was labeled, we had hard laminated ingredient lists in Big Print, labels were used as seals on product that each had ingredients, date and time stamp baked. Did he look at those, no. We had a full copy of the laws, our certificates laminated on display everything in order, or so we thought.
What it turned outing the end was jealousy. The flea market sells three or four cookie varieties at their little restaurant. So there would be no competition. If someone wanted a chocolate chip they could buy them from the flea market restaurant, the same with raisin oatmeal. And white chocolate macadamias. It did not matter that they did not have the cookies available for sale, or ever had them available. I chose not to make their offerings. I made NY black and Whites, Linzer tarts, certified allergen free macaroons, and more.
It turns out that they ran off a lady that made all kinds of caramels too, and another lady that sold allergan free cupcakes. another vendor that sold genuine gyros, and was cracking down on the Amish dairy store. All great btw. And all the home foods was a main reason why we went to the flea market to shop and thought it was a great place to establish clientele. But it isn’t until you actually set up and interact with the field management that you get the inside scoop. They even chased out a pizza place to create their own pizza place. If the man that collected, the money from the vendors even felt that vendor food would take away from their restaurant sales, they went out of their way to make it awful for the vendor.
So, here is the moral, stay away form the 407 great smoky flea market if you want to be a cottage food vendor.