Hi, My name is Regina Johnson. I'm fundraising for my dedicated Gluten Free bakery, RegCakes, as we move to a more permanent, more customer-friendly location. It's a community effort to improve a community service!
I started RegCakes in 2015, baking 100% gluten-free cakes in my basement--so I guess it's been built literally from the ground up! ...with elbow grease, family sacrifice, our own cash investment, a huge learning curve, and a strong commitment to serving the local gluten-free community, a community which has become so dear to me!
In 2021, I leased a commercial kitchen in Lincoln Square, Urbana, hired a wonderful team (I'm beyond grateful for them!) and expanded our product line. Our loyal customers followed us to our new location and many more joined in, even out-of-towners & interstate travelers. Word spread, and local media gave us a boost, too. Our region of Illinois finally has a dedicated gluten-free brick-and-mortar store! Hooray!
Friends, the amount of work that has gone into building a sustainable operation is crazy-huge. But it is on track to be a permanent success! And the effort is worth it: every time a customer calls me out from the kitchen to thank me for bringing RegCakes to the community, or cries because they haven't had a delicious, pretty birthday cake before, or gives me a hug because it's been years since they ate cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning...these stories fill my tank. It's awesome! I want to keep it going.
The current RegCakes location in Lincoln Square has been just what we needed to get off the ground. But it is not what we need for continued growth: limited plumbing & electrical, limited traffic/visibility/accessibility, and limited ability to create our own atmosphere in a shared-suite setting, are a few of the difficulties.
After exploring several alternative options, I found a wonderful new location just down the road in Savoy, IL: the former Senator's Pub. It has visibility, easy access, and plenty of parking, not to mention charm, potential patio space, local municipal support for a business like ours, and the infrastructure for us to create a practical workspace & storefront. Hooray!
It does, however, need a lot of work inside to convert it from a bar to a bakery. And while I am rolling in gluten-free dough, I'm not rolling in the green kind. Gluten-free baking is very expensive and labor-intensive, and I have tried my best to keep cost-to-consumer as low as I can. In truth, RegCakes needs a lot of money to make the new place awesome. Banks are not big fans of food-establishment loans, and my business is not old enough to qualify for some grants and other low-interest loans. Thankfully I have secured a business loan from a family member which will just cover the construction & equipment necessary to make "the pub" functional & check all the boxes for permits. But the important "extras" (still essential to success) are very expensive:
A big visible roadside sign ($15,000 to $20,000)
A patio to expand seating ($7,000 to $20,000)
Software & hardware for smoother operations, online ordering, and shipping ($3,000-$5,000)
Improved coffee serving equipment & espresso machine ($2,000-$4,000)
Additional baking & cooling equipment
Equipment/fixtures for hosting gluten-free baking classes and demos
Generally improving the atmosphere: seating, lighting, audio, decor, restroom fixtures
Equipment for serving gluten-free hot biscuits & sausage gravy! By George, I want to make this dream happen!
I know that RegCakes customers are very excited about this move! And it is important to me to come through for them with not only an ever-expanding line of safe, gluten-free foods, but also the bakery-cafe experience they deserve and want to return to again & again. I believe this is a grass-roots, community project that will benefit us all.
Time is of the essence! Renovation is beginning in August and bills will soon be due. Raising funds quickly will allow me to fold some of these additional improvement projects into the initial construction plan, saving money and time overall, instead of putting them off. 100% of funds raised through GoFundMe will go directly to RegCakes and be used toward improvements at our new Savoy location, as listed above. As you have the financial means, please consider giving $25, $100, or $500 to our project. In fact, if each of our social media followers gave just $17, we'd have our goal met! Many hands make the load light and gluten free dreams come true!