Nancy Kimps Interview
If you like cheesecake, then you’ll be in Cheesecake Heaven in Green Bay, Wisconsin!
That just happens to be the name of Nancy Kimps business.
Nancy Kimps spoke with us about all things Cheesecake.
Q – How did you start this business of yours? You didn’t open a shop right away did you?
A – I spent 4 years developing my base cheesecake recipe. I gave up many times but I kept being drawn back to try again. Once I had the base down I started to create the different flavors we offer today. I made cheesecake for one restaurant and for my attorney along with many friends as my test market; I was saving money to buy equipment. By the time I was ready to go to the bank for a loan I had bought a couple mixers, a cheesecake oven, some stainless steel tables and some small wares to get started. My first loan was for $40,000 and my attorney wrote a letter of recommendation to help me get the loan. I think the total time from the start to opening a store was 7 or 8 years.
Q – Your father was the baker in your house, not your mother?
A – Yes. My father was the baker and an excellent cook. My mother could only ‘fry’ it, she could not make it. To this day, I do not eat fried foods.
Q – What is it about cheesecake that you like?
A – I used to love to eat it and it was hard to find good cheesecake. Now, I love to bake it. I only taste test new flavors. Once in a great while I will actually sit down and have a slice and I remember how good it is?
Q – What’s your competition like in Green Bay?
A – There are a few independent bakery cafes that are long standing within the community but, many more that have opened and closed. Of course there are all the franchises such as Panera. I think with our original recipes and signature food items we give them a run for their money. I always say, ‘If you think there is money selling bread and sandwiches, try selling cheesecake and sandwiches’. Although the last few years have been quite challenging for everyone in the food business.
Q – You actually make 90 different cheesecakes every day? What cheesecake is the most popular of the ones you’re baking? And, what if they don’t sell? Do you throw them out?
A – We offer over 90 flavors of cheesecakes, but, we feature 10 every month. You can special order any flavour from any month with a 7 day notice. Once the cheesecake is made, they are frozen and sent out to our stores. We have a self-service section where they are kept frozen and customers can choose, grab ‘n’ go, 7”, 8”, or 10”. We also keep cheesecake in our back freezer that we display and sell by the slice. We have little to no waste. Rotating flavors every month keeps them much fresher than the grocery stores cheesecakes. The most popular flavors are always Turtle and original. We have started some cookie dough flavors with our Chocolate Chip Cookies, our Shortbreads and our Monster Cookies which are quite popular. We also make frozen cheesecake on a stick in several flavors during the summer months. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is the most popular followed by Original.
Q – You have two shops. How can you maintain Quality Control? You can’t be in two places at the same time!
A – We have written processes and procedures for everything we do. Both stores and the bakery are overseen by me and my management staff to assure quality. I have many long standing and great employees that care about the consistency and quality as much as I do. The cheesecake and large volume items are made at our 4,000 square foot bakery which is separate from our retail stores. We are looking to install security systems and cameras in our stores in 2012.
Q – Do you have any celebrity clients that you can mention?
A – I’m not sure Green Bay has many celebrities. It’s not like being in New York or Hollywood. We do however have the Super Bowl champs Green Bay Packers and many of them along with their wives, families, friends and coaches frequent our deli on Oneida Street. Before the Super Bowl this year (2011) we were mentioned on the Front Page of the New York Times Sports section, as a restaurant in Green Bay that Aaron Rodgers liked to frequent.
Q – How long would you like to be making cheesecakes?
A – I have made thousands upon thousands of cheesecakes and I still enjoy it as much today as I did 16 years ago when I opened my first store. I always say baking is my therapy. I have employees that bake cheesecakes independent of me and with me. God willing I will be making cheesecakes for another 10 years. My plan is to slowly back out of the day to day operations over the next 10 years or sell my concept to someone who can take it Big. I would also like to R and D as I love creating and business consulting because I know the pitfalls of opening a small business and maybe I can help someone else avoid those as they pursue their dream. I Thank God everyday for the opportunity to pursue mine. How Blessed I have been to have that chance to know my passion and live it in my lifetime!
Official website: www.cheesecakeheaven.com
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