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How To Make A Donut (Shop) — Part III

by David Schloss

Three Nyack familes who have been friends for decades are starting a new business from scratch, making donuts from scratch. Here’s a progress report on Gypsy Donut And Espresso Bar, scheduled to open in late March on N. Franklin Street in downtown Nyack.

Some weeks are harder than others. This last week felt especially difficult, but as of this weekend we’ve turned a corner in the build-out process and can now see light at the end of the construction tunnel.

We started off our week with a trip to Stumptown and Mast Brothers, which, while terrific had the effect of swallowing up two whole days of the week. As anyone who has come back to work after a long weekend knows, there’s still a week’s worth of stuff to do but with fewer days in which to do the work.

Some of the contract work to renovate the space is going to be more expensive than we thought, and so by Wednesday we were ruminating over that and trying to plan out our budget. There’s nothing more fun than hauling out trash from your site while trying to calculate costs of equipment in your head. Once again I find myself awake at nights doing math, making checklists and rolling over occasionally to put a must-do task into my iPhone’s Reminder app.

Really the pressure comes from inside’€”we just want to get open and start sharing our products with everyone. I’ve been daydreaming about doing coffee cupping classes and talking to people about coffee roasting and tea and chocolate and I’m just too excited to wait. It makes us want to be open now, now, now.

Any time we share the Gypsy story with folks we get excited.

We had our electricians in to do demo work prior to building out the connections to our gear and had the plumber in for a quote. That left the space filled to the brim with plastic sheeting, sheetrock dust and equipment. One of our next tasks is to pour the flooring material, so everything needed to come up off the floor.

Since one of our partners has been working his day job plus doing renovation work at the shop, there hasn’t been a lot of time for BJ to hang out with his infant daughter so we’ve been trying to figure out how to schedule tasks so that some of us less talented folks (from a construction standpoint) can take over some of the work. We decided to spend Sunday cleaning the space and called in a bunch of Team Gypsy to come get it done.

We cleaned out the overhead storage space (there were still a lot of cups and plates from Gracie’s up there) and put all our building items up in the ‘€œstoreroom.’€ Next we got the plastic and accumulated crud off the floor and power washed the floor (for what I think it the fourth time.)

With that task done we headed to my house, where nearly a dozen pieces of fire-charred wood from the former Woolworth’s building lay waiting for us to pull out nails. The wood is going to be our bar rail and since it has to be planed, the nails have to be out of the wood. The tacking nails are super-easy to remove but the original square nails from the 1800s break off as we pull them, and they have to be pulled out with vice grips and a series of drilling tools to get a good grip. It’s a lot of work but it’s going to yield great results.

At some point on Sunday evening, as we’re munching on some Mast Brothers chocolate and leftover bagels from our cleaning party it becomes pretty clear that we’ve just passed the hump of this project. We can get our electrician and plumber in, start getting the floor down and start building the bar. With the floor done I can have equipment delivered to the shop (instead of my garage) which means we’re going to be able to get the shop up to working speed as soon as the floor is done.

I’ve ordered the consumables (cups, straws, etc.) and we’ve gone with (more expensive but) green choices for all the items. The to go cups (both hot and cold) are made from a corn based plastic that’s compostable, as are our straws. Cutlery is from 100% recycled plastics. Our storage containers, paper towel and soap dispensers are ordered, our point of sale system is here.

There’s priming and painting to go (and we’re still scrubbing grease off some walls before we prime) but that’s a relatively quick process.

It’s finally coming together and we’re thinking about the nuts and bolts of serving customers. And now we’re more excited than ever.

David Schloss is a lifelong foodie with expertise in new businesses start-ups, social marketing and e-commerce. He is one of the  partners at Gypsy Donut and Espresso Bar.

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