Specialty Food Vendors – Discover How To Transition From Wholesale To Retail
We covered Julie Shipley’s Soup Shop back in January during National Soup Month. We recently interviewed Shipley again and asked her to share some insight on transitioning a specialty food business from wholesale to retail.
Shipley’s culinary career started when she began supplying a local café with homemade soups. The response from diners was so good Shipley expanded to providing a variety of homemade soups for two dozen Central Florida restaurants.
One week she had a surplus of soup and put a small sign in front of her commercial kitchen offering soup takeout.
The result? So much traffic that her landlord kicked her out.
Shipley opened a small retail location in a Publix Shopping Plaza in Melbourne, Florida, and hasn’t looked back.
We recently asked Shipley to share her experience in leaving her wholesale business to focus on retailing.
What were the biggest challenges supplying restaurants with your soup?
Getting orders from them in a timely manner! Sometimes I would have to call them back several times over the span of a day until somebody finally gave me an order. Multiply this by a couple of dozen restaurants and it becomes tedious.
What factors played a role in deciding to transition from wholesale to retail?
I decided to transition from wholesale to retail when I began to have the overhead (payroll etc) of a retail operation. It was no longer economically feasible to sell my soup at wholesale pricing.
How much has your business grown since you switched from wholesale to retail?
My business has grown over 1200% since becoming a retail only business!
What’s next for The Soup Shop?
In addition to offering 70 varieties of homemade soup from our retail location, we ship 40 varieties of soup nationwide.
We also just opened a small takeout only location in Historic Downtown Melbourne, Florida.
What would you recommend to specialty food suppliers like you who are considering switching from wholesale to retail?
Know your numbers and know your market. Is there a large enough demand for your product to cover the overhead that retail requires?
For more information on The Soup Shop visit http://TheSoupShop.com