Hi there my name is Shelly-Anne Storer I am the owner and baker of Wild Orchid Bakery . It took me a lot to reach out here on GoFundMe, I thought I could get through this by reaching out to proper avenues to seek help. This was not the case for me and I finally put my pride aside and decided to come here and ask for help.
I am an immigrant from Trinidad & Tobago who has lived in NH for almost 7 years. I am also a baker/cake designer of almost 12 years, who had a simple dream to open a bakery and sell custom cakes, donuts and island treats in my hometown of Manchester, NH. I lost my job as a cake designer in May 2020 due to Covid and I decided to put my hopes into starting a new small business.
I worked hard on my business plan , my ideas and prayed every night for almost 4 months that I would get the opportunity to open a bakery right here in NH. I wanted to give my family a better life. My husband is a veteran and served in the Army and is currently a Middle School Science Teacher. I have 4 beautiful children from ages 14, 11, 5 and 3 years in age.
I was blessed and gained a small SBA loan at the beginning of September 2020 that granted me a small startup loan for a turnkey operation in Manchester.
A series of unfortunate events happened before opening my bakery.
In October I got the keys for a storefront that was advertised as "turn key" , "ready to go" , and I was told I was all set by the realtor once I signed the checks for my 3 month security deposit and first months rent. He handed me the key to the front door and I thought this was it , my dreams were finally coming true!
I was excited, nervous and gearing myself up to open my bakery.
However my luck was about to change. The water to the building was never turned on by the landlord.
It took me five days of checking valves and hunting all over the building to get water turned on. I eventually called waterworks again after a few days. They were nice enough to got their engineer on the line. They sent someone down and fixed the issue for me .
Once the water was turned on I heard gushing noises come from that basement and soon saw that the water heater was not working and I had to repair it.
I had to hunt for my own plumber and soon found out nothing was to code, everything was illegally done and it was a residential water heater not a commercial. Within a few days of discovering this fault another leak appeared.
It was in what seemed to be a main pipeline. I went on a hunt to find a plumber as the landlord said he would send maintenance and never did.
After calling numerous plumbers I was able to get one . They spent all day looking at the issues and said they hoped the main pipe issue would be an easy fix and hoped for my sake it wasn't the "worst case scenario" of the grease trap having a problem.
Once they opened the lines it led directly to the grease trap. They broke the bad news to me and now added another bill to the expenses of a new water heater install.
where old grease trap was removed
I sent everything to the landlord. He then told the plumber to send me the bill. I hired a lawyer to communicate with the owner and the owner stopped replying . I ended up moving forward with the repairs which started from the 3 bay sink piping to a new grease trap that led to the main pipeline, electric install and new water heater install once City inspected and approved of the plans.
I spent over 6k in repairs and new installations which took away from my inventory and equipment such as a cake case and proofer. I was now to start a business with nowhere to store cakes which would bring the income I needed in to make a profit.
Everything I had spent months planning all gone into basement repairs before I could even open.
This was not counted in what the town had me repair and install in order to function as a bakery . My insurance policy did not cover any of these ongoing repairs as they were part of the main building infrastructure and I did not own property. They insisted the owner would have insurance that could cover this repair.
I moved forward pushing hard for 2 months to get my bakery open taking me to Mid December. I was already in debt before my store had even opened as automatic payments were coming out from all the overheads.
I still managed to get everything to code for the city and worked diligently trying to get opened. I knew if I didn’t I would never open at all.
By the placement of small cake orders I had enough to have some inventory for grand opening day on December 18th of 2020 .
I had the honor of Mayor Joyce Craig cutting the ribbon on my grand opening with me. All my dreams were finally coming to fruition.
Since the opening day I continued having ongoing issues in the building from multiple roof leaks in the kitchen to snow coming through my hood. Rainfall caused flooding in the basement and the main pipeline leak extended further down which led to septic issues.
In January my bakery had 3 days of ongoing issues with the landlord. He then pursued on the third day came in to the bakery and took all my router equipment for the internet and phone and to include my iPad which I used for my Point of Sale System. All which was caught on camera. I was shocked and upset. I knew nothing good would come from this moving forward.
After talking to several lawyers I decided to get out. For my own safety as my children came with me daily as I could not afford daycare coming into the month of January and February.
What now? Why do you need this money?
My 3 employees who I had under my wing training and hoping to somehow get out of this disaster stood by me. They all had hopes and believed in me . I wanted to help them firstly with all the hard work and effort we all put into getting this business started and now all being out of jobs, I hoped this would help them get by.
I do also have ongoing payments even after losing my storefront. I was already behind on some payments and now the expenses are getting overwhelming as I have been closed almost 3 weeks now. From leasing equipment, repairs , lawyers fees, utilities, taxes and the like.
The funds would be put forward to these ongoing expenses until I can reopen.
Lastly the funds would be used to find a new location to lease and hopefully reopen Wild Orchid Bakery.
I am praying and searching for a new location as of the last few weeks. I have to thank a good person who reached out to a realtor company to help me without me knowing. Since then we have done endless viewings.
We recently put a letter of intent on a property but as of now it needs a hood system and grease trap installations. I am hoping with this funding we could secure a new spot and get this going and get back to creating fun cakes and treats once again.
Being part of the community was a big deal for me and for it to be taken away so quickly breaks my heart. Knowing I now owe on a business loan for a business that got stripped away from me in less than 3 months makes this reality truly a nightmare come true.
I am forever grateful for the continued support of my local community , friends and family during this time. I don't want to lose Wild Orchid Bakery. So please every dollar contributes to helping get our doors open to you again.
If you cannot contribute sharing is just as big a donation to help get the word out.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story
- AL & PAT PROVOST
- Heather McDarby
- Genevieve Morse
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