How would you help Broadway cheesecake shop The Confectional?

Sund (Image: The Confectional)

Sund (Image: The Confectional)

Destiny Sund, part of the ownership at north Broadway location of mini-cheesecake shop The Confectional, showed up in CHS comments on the recent news about the closure of another Broadway independent as Cintli closed its doors:

So many useful comments! Especially over the confusion of what Cintli offered to it’s customers. I’m one of the owners of The Confectional, on the North end of Broadway – We are a boutique locally owned cheesecake dessert shop. What can WE do to increase foot traffic??? We haven’t seen the foot traffic we thought we would. The Confectional loves being a part of the Broadway community!

Tuesday night, she took to the airwaves on The Jason Rantz Show to speak out against the added pressure a $15 minimum wage would put on her chain of three shops in the city.

Sund, speaking as part of a new Sustainable Wages Seattle group, said she would close the Broadway shop if the $15 minimum is implemented. “It’s struggling,” she said. “We try to get the lobby a little bit busier,” she said, but added that food traffic on north Broadway hasn’t been as strong as expected.

The Confectional Broadway as it opened in the spring of 2011 (Image: CHS)

The Confectional Broadway as it opened in the spring of 2011 (Image: CHS)

The Confectional brought its mini-cheesecake concept to Capitol Hill in 2011 after starting in Pike Place Market. It has since expanded with a stand inside the Seattle Center Armory. Sund said her company employs 11 people at its three locations — six employees work at the Broadway shop and kitchen. She estimated that a $15 minimum wage would cost her business an additional $40,000 per year in wages.

CHS commenters were quick to offer some advice to Sund’s plea on the Cintli post. “Have you thought of serving coffee/tea? Beans from a unique regional roaster or tea leaves along the same line?” suggested one. “Something to complement what you already sell, but expand your customer base. As much as people complain about ‘too many’ coffee shops on the hill, I find that you can’t have too many places that provide something as simple as a place to sit and drink a warm (or cold) beverage.”

 

87 thoughts on “How would you help Broadway cheesecake shop The Confectional?

  1. I have a suggestion for Destiny. That location is tough for foot traffic because it’s so far North and there isn’t much North of you that would drive traffic, all of the foot traffic moves South of there. Perhaps a partnership with the Harvard Exit for a discount with ticket stubs for their customers or some other businesses around you. Also, your shop is nearly invisible. It would help if you had a sign hanging over the sidewalk as well as on the facade. But I think an easy thing to do, which some other shops on Broadway do, is to have employees outside in front of the store saying hello and letting them know you are there. Maybe occasionally with samples. Local area marketing like that is so very important and often overlooked by many small businesses.

    Of course you may be doing these things already to no avail. I won’t get on my soapbox about the $15 wage, we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. Best of luck!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write! We do have a hanging sign, window lights and signs and a A-Frame – we do some sampling etc as well. Love the idea of partnering with Harvard Exit, I will explore that next week.

      Please feel free to come in anytime, you would be welcome!

  2. Stay open later on weekends. My family recently celebrated a birthday at a nearby restaurant and was looking for a place to grab a quick dessert after (maybe around 9 p.m. or so). Walked by, but you were closed. Contemplated going to the chocolate martini bar instead, but decided it was too fancy for our brood.

  3. With all due respect it does not sound like the $15 wage is the problem here and it’s painful to hear veiled threats against customers and employees under the guise of economic hardship. I’m sure she means well, but the reality of the matter is rooted in current business practices and a large variety of factors, not just wages and the potential for a $15 wage.

    Look, I’ll say it again: 70% of American Indian/Alaskan Native workers make under the proposed minimum wage with ~75% of Native women earning low wages. For Latin@s it’s around 50% and for Asian and Black Seattle workers it’s around 40%. When huge swaths of groups are essentially routed into low paying jobs (and ignoring that AI/ANs have unemployment in staggering numbers to begin with) it’s evident that the system is not working for *anyone*.

    My suggestion for Destiny would be increased social awareness and a better understanding that a city that practically guarantees poverty for certain people is probably one that will also chew up small businesses, well-intending or not. On top of that, let’s look at the benefits of being socially progressive: Jody Hall stepped out in support of R-74 and got a huge boost; when paid sick leave came into effect, in spite of her misgivings she still managed to increase sales and expand. Her sales were buoyed by her high profile after the wonderful victory at the ballot box.

    Your cheescake is delicious and your employees are friendly. But that doesn’t justify deferring to a default system that actually destroys lives and is demonstrably racist (again, 70% of Native workers in Seattle!). Don’t point to currently flagging business and then try to tie in the hypothetical threat that may arise from a positive and just effort to undo such a horrifying system. That’s scary and disheartening.

    Want some ideas? Get a bike and offer the hill “Cheesecake in a minute”. That’s a cool service. How about weekly cheesecake making classes? Sure, that sounds like you’re making people less likely to buy from you but think about the ultimate effort — they’ll still buy from you. What about the odds’n’ends bin where product that doesn’t pass quality testing gets sold? Or how about bashing up your end of day batches and sending them to Molly Moon or Jody Hall for ice cream mix-ins?

    I shouldn’t have to struggle through school to be told just by nature of my tribal citizenship I am practically destined to earn much less than others. My NW cousins shouldn’t be forced into the same predicament. And I think it’s only fair that Asian, Black and other PoC be paid well enough to afford your cheesecake.

    Please. Let’s stop this latest effort to prop up an unjust system.

    • Actually, it is the minimum wage itself that is unjust and racist, as has been documented throughout history. The Minimum Wage has been used time and time again by white supremacist as a way of keeping down minorities. Source:
      http://nypost.com/2013/09/17/why-racists-love-the-minimum-wage-laws/

      A high minimum wage leads to discrimination against minorities, especially African Americans and Native Americans. Why? It makes it hard for unskilled workers to get entry level jobs, and a disproportionate amount of unskilled workers are workers of color, as a result of the failing public school system children of color are forced into. So, we have an entire generation of children of color whom have had their education ruined by GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS and then have their hopes of getting their feet into the door of entry level work blocked off by GOVERNMENT mandated minimum wage. Are we seeing a pattern here?

      The real solution is obvious: First, do what Sweden did and create a MASSIVE school-choice program, allowing minority students to enter the same private schools wealthy white children are allowed to enter so they gain those essential job skilled early in life. Second, lower taxes so that low-wage workers keep more of their own money. Want to talk about wage theft? Why not talk about the biggest thief of wages: UNCLE SAM!

      Third, deregulate small businesses so that more working people can go into business for themselves and lift themselves out of poverty. Why on Earth should anyone need government permission to cut hair? Source: http://thewhitedsepulchre.blogspot.com/2010/11/police-raid-barber-shops-for-cutting.html

      In short, minimum wage itself is a racist policy, like so many other big government policies. The only thing that will liberate people of color, like myself, are free-market and pro-liberty solutions.

      -Liberty is Life

      • It’s not just people of color. As a nation, for the last 100-120 years we’ve slowly been made ignorant to the point that we no longer can determine what was once common sense. They had to destroy the system of human thought that has built the world in order to defend an ideology that is grounded in belief and cult-like behavior.

      • The article you link to is by Thomas Sowell, a once-notorious Milton Friedman protege who (despite being Black himself) supported apartheid South Africa and praised lifelong racist Robert Bork at his confirmation hearing. I could easily take apart his argument line by line beginning with the first sentence (what “economists” are he referring to, exactly?) but it’s safe to say he has nothing of value to contribute to the minimum wage debate.

    • Thank you for your thoughts and compliments! We really appreciate your taking the time. The bike idea is interesting, I’m friends with Max, founder of the “Piecycle”!!!! Love the cheesecake classes idea too, thank you. ~Destiny

  4. This won’t help foot traffic directly but solicit larger hill businesses for a weekly or monthly cheesecake and coffee\tea lunch snack. .I’m sure a few sweet tooth net companies and health care folks need a sweet fix.

    As far as closing with the 15 hr wage. .I feel that will be widespread if they put it in overnight

    • Nah. These threats were made by businesses when we instituted our current minimum wage and when we adopted the smoking ban. Nobody closed. Higher wages=more consumer spending=more jobs.

      • We will see, 7.25 to 9.38 is not nearly the same as 9.38 to 15 an hour.

        It will have an impact, both positive and negative. If I had 3 staff at 10 an hour, and now I’m paying 15 an hour for the same work, I’d look at ways to reduce 1 and add more responsibilities or in business speak “Productivity” to the two remaining.

        I won’t shed a tear if Walmart said “We were thinking of a West Seattle store, now we aren’t” but small businesses are not just rolling in bourgeois dough always.

        The $15 an hour will just start to be passed along to consumers as inflation, ever had a drink in Manhattan? So in a few years we will be having the same discussion as Seattle ticks upwards, if you increase everyone’s supply of money, costs go up with it..it’s not static.

      • Higher wages also will mean higher prices (small business owners will have to make more money in order to pay higher wages). And higher prices will blunt any potential increases in consumer spending, and will mean that workers with a higher wage will have to spend more to buy what they are buying now, partially negating their increased income. And do you actually think there will be more jobs?….more likely that workers will be laid off or at least their hours reduced.

        Those who fail to admit there will be some negative impacts of raising the minimum wage so drastically are in denial.

        • We need to also count:

          $15 Minimum wage base + Increased payroll taxes + higher COG’s cost + higher deliveries + higher L&I each quarter + overtime hours + all the vendors The Confectional uses in Seattle will also have to raise their prices to us… on top of the original $15.

    • Love the “Coffee and Cheesecake Hour” with hill coffee shops! Thank you SO much!

      And yes, unfortunately you are correct about our closing on Broadway, but we would do our best to save our Pike Place and Armory locations at least!

  5. Capitol Hill rent is definitely a challenge for businesses. Are there ways to expand your business by selling mini-cheesecakes at area groceries or other businesses (i.e. the Bauhaus, other espresso shops in the area that offer limited dessert options). The more customers who are familiar with your product the more likely they will want to stop in at a store that offers more variety.

    • Thank you Bill, we do try coffee shops – many don’t have a refrigerated case. We have tried some groceries stores and were in PCC and Metropolitan Markets for a while – but our cheesecakes are in a wrapper to keep the sides from drying out and we just can’t compete next to pies, cakes and other visually appealing desserts.

      You are right on about getting customers familiar with our little cheesecakes!

    • Think about cheesecake.
      Think about vegan cheesecake.
      Think about a venn diagram involving people who like cheesecake and are vegan.
      Add in a third circle – vegan cheesecake lovers who live on capitol hill.

      I’m not saying you can’t be vegan and love cheesecake , I’m just saying aint nobody making profits off of vegan cheesecake because 12 of you exist.

    • Thank you NerfBall! We did make a few vegan cheesecakes in the beginning, but all the vegan ingredients (cream cheese, butter, eggs etc) made them too expensive for our customers… We had to charge $11.00 for one mini, and they expired in the case before we could sell them. I think there are some wonderful Vegan bakery’s in Seattle who have built the clientele in the vegan community. Let me know if you’d like some names!

      We do make gluten-free cheesecakes! We even bake our own gluten-free crust right in our bakery!

  6. I second the suggestion of a cheesecake making class. Not sure if your store could accommodate it, but there are other venues around town that host classes by local restaurants/businesses (the Pantry at Delancey for example)

  7. I love cheesecake. It’s one of the few deserts I go out of my way to enjoy. When The Confectional opened I was there on the 2nd or 3rd weekend to try it and would love to come back.
    What keeps me from returning is the fact that I have to worry about rent, real food, and other expenses because I make barely enough to get by. When I had a better job, I had a ‘splurges’ budget that would go toward patronizing different shops on the Hill every week.
    If you want people to shop at your business, they need to have the money in their budget for non-essentials.

    • Increasing the wages of tens of thousands of Seattle residents will increase their ability to spend on dining outside the home, treats and fun desserts. The benefit to the restaurant and small biz community in Seattle will be immense and it will be humane because it helps people first. Right now, and symptomatic of the very problem we’re trying to solve, the discussion does not acknowledge that fact.

      • You’re making an erroneous assumption that adding 40% to wages won’t result in inflation.

        Without government controls of pricing, those low-income people won’t have greater spending power because the costs of low-cost items will increase. Not necessarily because they have to, but because they can.

        While minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation, you’re not solving any problems solely by increasing wages; instead, you’re creating another. Focus on the real problem: Too many people are being forced to work minimum wage jobs because we’ve lost way too many higher-paying jobs. Manufacturing jobs are gone, office jobs are gone… basically, positions of skill above those needed to run a register have vanished in the last decade.

        You tackle that one, you have my attention.

      • Why would people who are still not making very much ($15/hr) spend their money on things that are expensive like restaurant and bakery food? I’d guess that they would just put the money into essentials and be frugal, buying things online or outside of Seattle where it’s cheaper.

        • Exactly. Cheesecakes, large or mini, are simply a luxury item. Move your store to Bellevue where there are people who can afford your luxury items for sale. The reason the Pike Place and Seattle Center stores are more successful is that they are feeding off the tourist traffic. I bet a store in any Seattle neighborhood that didn’t have strong tourist traffic would suffer just like the Cap Hill store.

      • The whole “people will have more money to spend” fallacy is a big fat lie. First, what happens at $15/hour? A new tax bracket. No one is talking about that. So long Earned Income Tax credit. Second, prices will go up. So the spending power of a $15/hour MW will be about the same as $12/hour now.

        Second, so many people will lose their jobs, that there will be a lot less spending power in the city. It will be just like what happened in American Samoa. Source: http://www.acton.org/pub/commentary/2011/07/06/minimum-wage-law-backfires-american-samoa

        No matter how you do the math, a $15/hour unpayable wage is the worst idea in the long sad history of bad ideas.

        -Liberty is Life

  8. Almost every $15 wage discussion that actually talks about how to make it work also talk about exemptions, tax breaks, or other changes for small businesses that have fewer that X number of employees (the number seems to range from 25-50), so I would implore you to battle for a way for small businesses to stay in business with a higher minimum wage, rather than fighting against paying a living wage.

    As for increasing traffic to your shop, well that is difficult. I live not far from your store, yet have never bought anything there. Why? Because you are the very end of the Broadway business district. No one is just walking past while out shopping. Secondly, every time I have tried going there you have been closed. People don’t generally want cheesecake at noon, they want it with afternoon coffee, after dinner, or late in the evening after a movie. Third, you do not offer vegan, sugar free, dairy free, or other dietary restriction options (as far as I know). Most of my friends cannot eat your products because of this. And lastly, Dilettante is open during the evening when you are not, is two blocks further south where most people are coming from, and offers cheesecake plus other things.

    My suggestions, work with nearby restaurants for promotions, and selling your product to/through them. Offering coupons with things like movie tickets is also a great idea, but you would have to be open when the movie gets out. I have also seen businesses get good results from promotionals like a discount/free sample if you wear blue and green on game day, or rainbows during Gay Pride, things like that.

    • Well, that very block will be getting its own streetcar stop in 3-4 years at a cost of millions, so have no fear on circulation and foot traffic.

      Heh. We spend millions on making sure businesses get hefty benefits as a city and they can’t pay a fair wage. Something’s amiss here.

      • A $15 minimum wage can be challenging for small businesses who are struggling to pay all of the bills. One option, that is rarely discussed, is the idea of making employees business partners by providing them with a small share of overall profits in exchange for the percentage of hard work they contribute each month to the company. If employees have a stake in the business they may perform better, actively draw in more customers, and increase profits without forcing small businesses to increase labor costs. Obviously, a CEO would want to be very careful about the people he or she selected to co-own the business with her and would want to meet with lawyers to discuss the terms for partnership etc. However, it may be a possible solution for very small, more risky businesses or other businesses who are interested in exploring other business models besides the traditional manager/employee model.

    • Your friends sound like they don’t like cheesecake. A cheesecake without animal products or sugar is something else but it certainly isn’t cheesecake. They might remember cheesecake and think they enjoy it and might want to try it but with that ‘tweak’ but its just not cheesecake.

      It’s like when juliano’s pizza served vegan gluten free pizza – there might be a lot of people who can check off the boxes of their dietary restrictions and say “hey, juliano’s fits the bill” but when food hits the tongue you know its a crude facsimile of pizza. People committed to veganism push through and swear its the best thing but almost everyone else knows vegan, gluten free pizza’s spot in pizza heirarchy – the bottom. It’s telling that juliano’s pizza by melrose closed and was replaced by a burger joint. Apparently they operate out in Ballard now but it won’t surprise me if they have a constantly unstable business as time goes on.

      • You are completely wrong. You can make “cheesecake” that someone who didn’t know would never guess was sugar free, dairy free, or evne vegan. I have done this many times, and every time people are shocked to find out it isn’t “traditional” cheesecake.

        I also never said my friends insist they like cheesecake, simply that because of various dietary restrictions due to medical reasons, we can never eat there because someone will not be able to eat it.

        • I don’t think technically you can make cheesecake that doesn’t have cream cheese in it. You might be able to make something that tastes like cheese cake and resembles it in look and texture. But it would be a Cheese Cake Flavored Desert. Not cheese cake.

        • You could make something that people who don’t actively pursue cheesecake would say resembles cheesecake but I defy you to do an A/B comparison with people who would go to an all cheesecake store to purchase cheesecake.

          Vegans wishing for cheesecake is one of the most idle wishes one could have – they want something that affirms they aren’t missing out on “the good stuff” of life while not actually having to purchase it.

        • Another thing that strikes me as absurd about vegan cheesecake – price.

          Could you post a recipe and the price you paid for all of the ingredients, pro rating costs to the cheesecake made?

          I see recipes calling for cashews for example and I know that there are people sensitive to cashews, any nut for that matter – so do you worry about people with nut allergies now and develop a work flow that insulates people with nut allergies? How many cheesecakes do you make that are unique in one way or another?

          At its most basic, it is extremely hard to create baked products that are

          A. good enough to purchase over other available options
          B. satisfy a wide swath of potential consumers with their own particular tastes/dietary issues
          C. are at a price point that ensures profitability

          I look at a place like Crumble and Flake whose business has tapered off from the crazy days of people lining up out the door and think “People clearly are willing to patronize them and they have good product, but its should be obvious to potential entrants into baking on capitol hill that there isn’t a huge market for baked goods. If even the best place is slow most weekdays and has unsold product at end of day, how do you expect to do better in a niche dietary bakery?” I still get the occasional paprika cheddar croi on the way to work but 3.50 crois add up and its a treat.

      • These days, it is very difficult for restaurants to offer the wide variety of specialized items to try and appeal to those who have (or think they have) dietary restrictions. Not only is the list constantly increasing, but the various food fads of the moment come and go (remember “lo-carb”?). It must be a real challenge for restaurant owners to keep up with all this.

    • Wonderful, thank you! All great suggestions. As far as being against $15 per hour – I am not. All 11 of our employees earn a range of wages! My position is… our bank account – and unless we can increase profit, our account can’t pay out. Simple. That’s why I’m asking the community for help. We want to help our employee’s, we wish we could pay them ALL $100 per hour! They are so wonderful, and care about The Confectional. But with our founder Paul not making a dime… And he works 60+ hours per week. We are still perhaps too new on the hill but love being part of our community and want the chance to “stick” around a bit! (Get it? Cheesecake is sticky! :) ~Destiny

  9. I mainly shop at The Confectional for gifts. If you listed your offerings and prices on your web site, I’d be better able to plan my spending and more likely to visit.

  10. When I made my first post I hadn’t realized that this business sold only cheesecakes. One basic tenant of almost any investment is diversity. Even the Cheese Cake Factory sells more than just cheese cake. I personally don’t like cheese cake, so if my friend wanted cheese cake we’d probably have to go to one of the many places near you that offers a more diverse menu.

    Running a successful business takes a lot of skill and hard work. It takes a dedicated staff (you get what you pay for) who care about and have pride in their work. You can’t just put up a sign and open the doors. You have to get the word out that you exist, what you sell and most importantly you have to be open at the times that there is demand for your product. So many people get into business for themselves because they don’t want a boss or set hours. But that’s just naive. Hopefully you can take some of these suggestions and make this location more profitable. If not, someone else will, eventually.

  11. One thing really lacking in the Hill’s cafe culture is comfort. Vivace has the best coffee, but the kitschy tables feel built for work, not chatting. Ditto Vita. Up the Hill Victrola has a few cozy spots, but not enough, and down the hill Victrola is modern and wonderful for working in, but not great for reading. Roy Street doesn’t get my money because Starbucks doesn’t get my money. All of this to say, I never go to the Confectional not because I don’t love cheesecake but because the space doesn’t feel like the space to eat cheesecake in. If I want comfort food, I want the comfort food experience.

    • Yes! I am always disappointed that there aren’t more cafes with comfortable seating. Show me a cafe with nice lighting and cushioned chairs where I can read a book or chat with friends over coffee (and cheesecake) and I’m there. Not sure if The Confectional would be the spot because I don’t recall there being much of a seating area, but it’s a thought for other cafes (and cafes to be)…not all of us need stiff chairs and tables for laptops.

      • I have a feeling some places made their tables/chairs less comfortable because vagrants were coming in and sleeping in the chairs and putting their trash all over. Tully’s that was on the corner of Broadway and Pike used to have soft chairs, but it became almost unusable for paying customers because the seats were all taken up by people sleeping in them. Now Starbucks on that corner has mostly “less comfortable” seating and I can’t help but think that might be part of the reason. Maybe other places figured this out too, or wanted to slightly discourage people from coming in to do work (i.e. taking up space all day and buying very little).

        For the Confectional, though, I guess they could be a *little* more comfortable/inviting. Maybe just have a few (more?) small tables, so even if the chairs are not comfortable to sleep in, it’s inviting enough for people to come in to chat with each other.

  12. I’ve visited the store — I bought two mini-cheesecakes a few years back, as gifts for guests. My impression was that it’s not a place where you can sit down or meet someone at: I remember it as being take-away only, dim, with the space dominated by the refrigerator case. I have images of uncomfortable “not for sitting” wrought iron seating.

    No idea if this is true, but this is the impression I have. I would not consider The Confectional to be a place where I could chat with a friend, and since I don’t eat cheesecake myself, it is a special-occasion gift boutique to me.

    All this can change if you stay open late, i.e. when movies get out, serve a few non-cheesecake items (how about black-and-white cookies? I can’t remember if the shop tries to be local or ‘authentic New York’), move some furniture, and offer reasonable coffee.

    • Thank you! I really hope you give us a second chance – because I value all this feedback so much. I’m hearing the community ask us to fit in a bit better with Espresso, better seating, later hours etc. This is wonderful feedback! It gives us a chance to take another look at our surroundings. We love being a part of Broadway, we love our customers and the neighborhood. I hope to see you in The Confectional again soon! ~Destiny

  13. I think it’s great that you’re soliciting feedback and I’d recommend doing a free survey with surveymonkey to see what your customers like and don’t like. I’ve been there once and thought your product was good but too expensive for my budget. Maybe add a few lower price items or some happy hours for those slow times and those on a budget.

    • Brad – wonderful feedback! We are using all of this to really make The Confectional fit into the neighborhood. We just love our customers and being a part of Broadway! Hope to see you in again soon. ~Destiny

  14. I like the Confectional a good deal and have been there perhaps half a dozen times. I live towards the north end of Broadway, so the location is less of a factor for me than most, but there are some key points that have been raised that I hope the owner benefits from – because I’d be very sad if they closed up shop.

    In addition to considering things like partnership with Harvard Exit (or perhaps Deluxe or Bait Shop – places that attract crowds on the north end of Broadway but don’t necessarily specialize in dessert), perhaps consider offering a ‘cheesecake happy hour’ or similar? As delicious and cute as the mini cheesecakes are, they’re not all that cheap and face it, cheesecake is a luxury item. By creating some promotions and generating some buzz, you might bump traffic. You might also consider some advertising on CHS or elsewhere – if I see cheesecake, I am more likely to want to go buy some cheesecake.

    I like the cooking class idea as well – I first discovered the Confectional at Pike Place Market as part of a chocolate walking tour. Sometimes tangential advertising is the most effective. In the end, a business with low foot traffic is not going to survive regardless of whether the minimum wage is $10 or $15.

    • Liz, I simply cannot say thank you enough! Paul and I love being a part of the Broadway community. All your idea’s are spot on! This is exciting to me, I’m hoping we can implement many of these idea’s to better appeal to our neighborhood. I sure hope to see you in The Confectional again soon! ~Destiny

  15. The straw that breaks the camel’s back seems like it will be the $15 forced minimum wage.

    I am also a business owner. One of my businesses, an eccommerce company, pays entry level customer service reps and order processing reps above minimum wage – $12 per hour. I have also determined that raising the minimum wage to $15 would force me to close my business as well. I have run the numbers.

    People could also point fingers at things that may or not be wrong. Carry this, carry that, offer more free shipping, change the colors of the web site, do an email newsletter on and on and on. Yeah, I am sure I am not doing everything perfectly, but when does government get the right to come and do something to my business that will literally close my business, harm my family, and cause real and true layoffs?

    I cannot cut the money from anywhere else. We can’t cut the marketing that drives the orders in, and we cannot process orders any faster or answer our phones any quicker or get off of the calls faster.

    I once made minimum wage, and many that do earn this, dream of owning their own business someday. If you want more money, you promote yourself by going to school, studying a higher paying craft or skill through books, practice, mentoring or asking your employer for opportunities that pay more than minimum wage. Then you make $12, $15 or $20” an hour. My parents taught me to promote myself, and gain the necessary ingredients to get ahead.

    For those that want to make more than minimum wage, try investing a couple weekends in gaining knowledge about a certain work area that pays more, then approach your employer and ask that you work towards an opportunity to earn more than minimum wage and point out what you have done to date to begin reaching for this. I bet they would fall out of their chair! If not, continue gaining this knowledge while working and go meet with other business owners or companies and see what is available and go work there!

    • Gosh, you’re actually suggesting that people take some personal responsibility to earn more? (as opposed to just demanding more for the work they are already doing). What a radical idea! (and an excellent one, I might add).

    • Elwood – thank you so much for your support, thoughts and sharing your experiences as a fellow business owner. It’s not easy… It should be, it’s just delicious cheesecake! LOL! ~Destiny

  16. $15How? My heart goes out to Destiny Sund. I understand her concern on such a draconian raise in the minimum wage. The fact is is that there is little to no historical record of such a draconian rise in the minimum-wage record of 63% so we dont really know what it will do. Big unions and Socialist theorists are gambling with our lovely city.

    When you hear a small business give real numbers, real figures, and real scenarios, I listen. When you hear the $15now redshirt people give you unproven promises, meaningless statistics, and false conclusions, run like hell!

    • Thank you Nick. At a recent WRA meeting, with over 90 restaurant owners in attendance, we were asked: “How many of you would have to shutter, or reduce staff if this were implemented?” ….EVERY hand raised. This was in front of council woman Sally Clark. Also, is the Seattle community aware of how much small business gives back to the community in terms of donations? Millions each year. This is a tough one….

  17. I applaud your courage in exposing the truth about the minimum wage. Food service businesses have a very small profit margin (1.8 to 6% before taxes). Increasing the cost of the workforce by 60% will be devastating. I would venture to guess that most of the people replying on this thread, in support of this unsustainable wage increase do not employ people!

  18. Hi Destiny, I wonder if you would benefit from a slightly different setup for your business. Opening shops in high street traffic areas is expensive and you’re a niche. The notable exception to this is in Pike Place Market where visitors often buy gifts and I think you’re a great fit there (though I have no insight into how your revenues stack up against the costs there).

    Mighty-O Donuts has a great business model I think. They operate a single location in Tangletown and sell their donuts in coffee shops throughout the city. Now donuts are higher volume in coffee shops because they’re a morning fare, but Seattle has a large number of cafes that are open late or convert into a bar at night. I think you could sell a lot of mini cheesecakes in these places.

    I think if you operated a single main location (possibly just a bakery with no storefront), a gift-oriented store in Pike Place, and then pursued the wholesale market more aggressively you might have higher revenue with fewer costs. Branding would be important in the wholesale shops, possibly a logo that’s understated but iconic like Macrina’s.

    • Hello Sean, thank you for your time, your thoughts are deeply appreciated. We are poised to handle so much more wholesaling… out of our Broadway location. Such a large kitchen, we are trying daily to gather more wholesale accounts. We do have two challenges as compared to Mighty-O Donuts: Refrigeration and price point. Our vendors must be able to refrigerate and handmade cheesecake is a labor of cheesy love! ;) If you know anyone who you think would be a good wholesale fit, please come in and let us know, we would appreciate it! We would love to see you in The Confectional again soon! ~Destiny

  19. If you can’t afford to pay your employees $15/hour, I’d rather you close up shop and have that space occupied by a business that can. I actually think a higher minimum wage could be a good chance to prune the market if you will.

      • Starting and owning small business is a very expensive and risky thing to do. A 15$ minimum wage may be another barrier so in my view it would make it harder for places like confectional to exist and easier for say…a couple more banks just what broadway needs. I do believe that generally a 15$ minimum wage is a good thing but there should be an exemption for small and/or struggling businesses. Perhaps there could be a system where if small businesses is making very thin profit margins or losing money they could submit their financial paper work to a board that would give them an exemption. Just a thought.

        I am rather fed up with people with cozy incomes and safe jobs attacking honest local business owners who are expressing a real concern.

        • Thank you, it’s getting harder and harder to assume all the risk and debt of a small business. Paul the Confectional founder has yet to make a dime… All our profits (or lack of) go back into the business. But, we STILL have a cheesecake dream! ;)

    • I am betting that Sasha is not an underpaid employee who would become an unemployee if every employer who pays less than $15 were “shut down.” I’m also guessing that she has never had to deal with Broadway’s skyrocketing business rents and that she has no idea why sometimes empty storefronts stay empty so long. (Then again, maybe she doesn’t.)

      Is “pruning the market” anything like tough love? ‘Cause nothing says “love” like an absent paycheck, an eviction notice, and an empty belly.

  20. Destiny – Try making your shop more inviting. I agree with other people that it doesn’t feel like a place where you could meet someone and sit down. Perhaps remodel to pull back the register area. Also the seating seems quite high which adds to the narrowness feeling of your store. I would suggest adding a display for your window area(which is quite limited) so people can see the offerings and be enticed to come in. Also I would offer espresso if not already on the menu.

    • Thank you so much! Your thought and ideas are right in line with everyone else. It looks like we missed the mark on being a place the neighborhood like to spend time in! What I’m hearing is: Later hours, espresso, comfy seating, better window display. I love it! All great suggestions. Sometimes when your in the thick of it, the obvious is hard to see. Thanks again for taking the time, and please come back for a cheesecake soon! ~Destiny

  21. Well my husband and I stopped in last Friday after dinner and looked around for a few minutes while the only employee I saw worked with her back to us in the kitchen. She turned and saw us and then disappeared.

    So….a wave or a greeting or an “I’ll be right with ya’” maybe?

    Finally we just left.

    • Thank you. That is sad to hear – we will go over this with our staff, they are usually all so great with our customers! Please give us one more chance – if you like cheesecake and haven’t had ours, I’d love to hear what you think. ~Destiny

  22. I took this post as a challenge. I loved the Confectional at Pike Place, and I’ve wished we had a place in Cap Hill to work with great food (not just coffee).

    I needed a place to work for a few hours, so I thought I’d give it a try. Instead, here I am with a hot chocolate at Vivace (which is packed with other people like me looking for a cozy place to work or chat). I’d still rather be eating your cheesecake, though.

    My thoughts en route:

    Yikes! This feels like a far walk! It’s not really that far, but Broadway just isn’t a fun street to walk on. Every intersection is really big and cars speed when I have the right of way, people panhandling, etc. Julia’s has their ADA-non compliant outdoor seating which forces everyone to squeeze into a foot or two or space.

    I arrive at Confectional:

    It’s totally empty. The cheesecakes look and smell so yummy. I am ready for an afternoon of cheesecake and PowerPoint. But oh no! Not a single seat with back support. There’s just no way I can sit here and work for 3 hours – I’d be in agony within minutes.

    I leave empty-handed and sad.

    MORAL OF STORY: This isn’t Pike Place, where people are self-selectively coming for just your product — we’re coming for an experience. For me, completing that experience meansI can linger and enjoy your product. Look at Ada’s as a contrast.

    Comfy seating and I’d be here at least 2X/month.

    • P.S. I was going to send some more detailed thoughts (since I have no way to know whether you are reading these comments) — but your website’s “Contact” page has no actual e-mail contact.

      • Eli – THANK YOU! Yes, I am carefully reading each comment, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to give me your thoughtful comment. I’m seeing a theme – we need to appeal to our neighborhood. More comfortable seating, not so stark of a lobby, I know we could use some sound panels, espresso and later hours. Sometimes what seems so obvious, isn’t. I really appreciate the neighborhood feedback! …meanwhile stop in sometime and say “Hi!”

  23. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | The Comet rises again on E Pike | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  24. I haven’t read though all the comments so forgive me if someone already brought this up. I love your cheesecake my boyfriend and I usually come in once a week we live nearby and always get it to go, because the space it not a comfortable place to hang out. I would come by more often for desert if there was ample setting and coffee and I could hang out and study, read etc. I understand the challenge of doing this with such a small space. Roy street coffee sells deserts and if a great place to hang maybe you could enter into some type of partnership with them.

    Best of luck to you.

    • Cheesecake eater! :) I love the name!

      Your suggestions do echo the community’s thoughts and feelings. Everyone has given us so much positive feedback, and it seems our lobby missed the mark. We are going to work through the summer and see if we can’t roll out a prettier and more comfortable lobby by this fall! Meanwhile, please keep coming in, and if you having sampled our newest chocolate delight – Holy Crack, please ask for a sample!

      Again, thank you for your time. The Confectional really enjoys being a part of Broadway!
      ~Destiny

  25. I love cheese cake, and stopped by your store once, purchasing a piece of the “plain”. To be honest, it was okay. I’m a very tough sell on cheese cake. If it had been more like a cupcake sized piece of New York cheesecake from Carnegie Deli (one of the best in NYC), I would have returned every week or so. The fact you’re on the northern edge of the Broadway Strip wouldn’t have stopped me. Nothing’s very far to walk, if the reward is worth it.

    I wish you lots of luck with your business, but paying a living wage to your employees shouldn’t be the issue. That’s just a base-line for being in business, and I wouldn’t support anyone who doesn’t at least pay enough for their people to live above the poverty line.

    If you want more business, make sure that you’ve got a product that keeps people coming back. Give them a reason to sample your goods, and deliver so they keep returning. Make it special, and they’ll go out of their way.

    • Thank you Bruce for your feedback!

      We also offer Stumptown coffee, Whidbey Island ice cream bars, a thick rich homemade hot chocolate and our latest chocolate invention: “Holy Crack!” Please ask for a sample!

      The Confectional pays our employees a wide range of wages, it’s unfortunate that my interview was lumped into this discussion. How to get our lobby hopping and the “living wage” political issue are separate. My point is only if we are mandated to pay everyone $17.50 per hour (this includes payroll taxes) our bank account dictates what we can pay… not us. UNLESS more people come in to buy cheesecake! :) So please come back, maybe try a different flavor?

      Thank you again for your time, and your thoughtful reply!
      ~Destiny

  26. This is just a heartfelt global THANK YOU from all of us at The Confectional. We have received each of your comments, and it seems the community knows we are here, but all of you want a cozy, comfy lobby area to chat with a friend over a yummy handmade cheesecake and cup of espresso! We will be working on this over this summer.

    In addition to cheesecake we also have a thick, European drinking chocolate, also homemade for you to sample, and we do offer gluten free cheesecakes! We make our own gluten free shortbread in the bakery and use that for our crust on a few flavors. ALSO – We have new chocolaty offering – “Holy Crack!” Please come try a sample! If you like ice cream bars, we sell Whidbey Island bars is yummy flavors…

    Feel free to tell our staff what you wish we had, want… even your hopes and dreams? Ok, maybe not go that far, but we hope to see everyone in this summer while we work on making our store more community friendly!

    Jason – Thank you for this opportunity, we love the CHS!

    ~Destiny

  27. Pingback: After $15 minimum wage fight, Broadway cheesecake shop The Confectional pares back | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

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