Andrew Fisher is passionate about his business, Bakers Buzzin’, an amazingly fun children's cooking studio in the heart of Fort Mill and Tega Cay. Before opening his unique venue, however, Fisher was a compliance manager working at Wells Fargo. But his dream was calling, so he left his job to dedicate himself full-time to building his vision.
This turned out to be a very good move because what Fisher had in mind was very unique for the area.
“My idea was to use cooking as a means to teach children teamwork, self-expression and life skills,” Fisher said. “We are not a culinary institute, but we do show children that cooking is fun, interesting and exciting. We also use interactive methods to educate children about topics such as eating healthy.”
In 2013, when Fisher needed to create a business plan and apply for funding to get his business off the ground, he visited the Rock Hill Area SBDC, where business consultant Forrest Norman reviewed Fisher’s financial projections and helped him assemble a lending packet. With Norman’s assistance, Fisher secured his first loan and was well-positioned to put his plan in motion.
Once the business was launched, the SC SBDC continued to follow-up with Fisher to monitor his progress and to make recommendations on social media platforms, marketing and other forms of advertising. Fisher, likewise, contacted the SC SBDC whenever he considered new growth avenues for Bakers Buzzin’. This symbiotic relationship has helped Fisher build a thriving enterprise.
Over the next several years, Bakers Buzzin’ grew tremendously, posting a 60 percent increase in sales. Much of its success can be attributed to its novelty.
“There is no other business like it in the area,” said Eduardo Venegas, a consultant with the Rock Hill Area SBDC who joined Forrest Norman is assisting Fisher. In addition to being one-of-a-kind, Bakers Buzzin’ continues to attract enthusiastic customers because it adapts to changing marketplace dynamics. “One of the newer offerings is a themed class tied to movie launches and popular children’s games,” Venegas said.
So, how do you top a business that has been highly successful for six years? You open a new location. And that is precisely what Fisher is doing. “We have now secured a lease for a new location which will double our facility space,” said Fisher. He expects to move to their new site by the end of 2019.
Besides moving to a larger space, what does the future hold for Bakers Buzzin’? According to Venegas, the business is poised for growth. “I see this business being very successful at their new location as they continue to expand their product offerings,” Venegas said. He also believes that the business has franchising potential. “The next logical step in their future growth could be to expand geographically, potentially utilizing franchising to accelerate this growth.”
Venegas said that it has been inspiring working with the Fishers. “They are passionate, dedicated and committed,” he said. “They also attend SBDC workshops to ensure they are constantly learning.”
Fisher is justifiably proud of his accomplishments. “Since 2013, we have been encouraging children to be excited about cooking. It’s not uncommon for a child to crack their first egg right here in our kitchen. We love teaching these skills because they will stay with a child for a lifetime.”