Cake Plate, Napa
Cake Plate started in 2007 by Lindsay Kroll selling designer clothes for women and is operated as a sole proprietorship. The name of the business comes from Lindsay's fondness for old cake plates. Lindsay grew up in Napa and worked in the area prior to opening this store. Her great number of relatives, friends and acquaintances has been very instrumental in the growth of the business. In addition Lindsay has a good eye for design, decorating and creating unique displays. Business is generated not only at the store but with periodic "Trunk" shows in store and in private homes, including San Francisco. Recently, Cake Plate has expanded it’s client base.
In addition to Lindsay, there is one other full time employee, one part-time, and one additional part-time during the summer months. For a period of time, a portion of the store was sublet to a cup cake business. Subsequently, the space has been used for designers to offer their designs on a consignment basis. In the near future, the area will be subleased to an up-scale cosmetic firm to test the local market in anticipation of opening an outlet. An article in the Napa Register, July 11, 2011, appeared about Cake Plate and partnership with Benefit Cosmetics, “Cake Plate Boutique in downtown Napa has added a new brand to the roster of high-end clothing designers whose garments adorn the store’s racks: Benefit Cosmetics.”
One problem is the lack of more retail stores in the downtown area. It results in the store being a destination resulting in less foot traffic and resulting in lower sales.
Construction, street closures and parking have been a continuing problem affecting sales.
Discounts were offered to entice people into the store. However, the practice has continues too long and has an adverse affect on profit. Some of the non-profit benefits that are supported do not bring in the type of attendees that will generate business in the future.
Lindsay was attending business classes through the SBDC when the opportunity arose to see a business advisor. The business advisor helped with a start-up budget and operational systems such as POS, Quickbooks, inventory, etc.). Use QuickBooks to customers and show attendees. Research the potential to open a store in San Francisco.
Measurable successes include the creation of two jobs.
“Ray Kimball and the SBDC have been instrumental in the success of Cake Plate. We opened in 2007 when the economy was booming, and have not only sustained, but continued to grow over the last 4 years through a struggling economy. With the help and support of Ray Kimball and the SBDC, this transition from a start-up to an established business has been incredibly smooth.”