Episode 88 – Amy Romriell, Mrs. Powell’s Bakery
East Idaho Staple
Amy Romriell has been baking since she was young. As a way to pass the time, she and her siblings decided to bake treats and learn the ways of the kitchen from her mom. This led to Amy's love of baking and her starting a small catering business as her children were growing and leaving home.
In 2017 she learned that Mrs. Powell's bakery was for sale and it felt like the perfect fit for her to take her baking to the next level. Initially she entered the business with partners. “I didn't have the confidence to run a business. I didn't think I knew enough,” Amy explained. Although she has a degree in English she had never formally studied business. The plan was for the partners to bring their knowledge of operations and HR to compliment her baking talents.
Amy quickly saw that the partnership was a mistake. “The partnership only lasted about three and a half months and it was drama from start to finish,” Amy said. The partners did not live up to their commitment and also used the business account for their personal finances. With some legal help, Amy was able to exit the partners from the business.
This left her facing all those challenges of running a business that she had been concerned with in the beginning and she started digging into their operations. “I realized that we were probably about a week away from utter collapse,” Amy explained. Thankfully she was in a position to support the business with her personal resources until it could recover. “Had it not been from that we would have just had to walk away,” Amy said.
When advising others about partnerships she cautions others before entering into a partnership. “At a bare minimum don't give anyone power over your money,” Amy says.
Looking back she now knows that she could have taken on this business without ever needing partners. Although she didn't have the business knowledge, she figured it out and advises others that they can do the same. “This is not rocket science, I can do this. I don't have this great business mind and I'm able to keep three locations going,” Amy said.
Amy admits that at times she has felt like giving up, especially early in the venture. When asked why she didn't give up she replied, “I really like the challenge, there's always something to solve and something to do.”
Under Amy's ownership she has grown the business to three locations, expanding to Rigby and Rexburg.
Like all food service, COVID-19 has had an impact, especially in Rexburg. Amy shared that Idaho Falls and Rigby have maintained but there was a visible impact to the Rexburg location. Business has increased through the holidays and the students are returning for the winter semester so she's hopeful business will improve as well.
When advising those looking into self-employment Amy advises that you should really understand the business you are doing. “The disappointing thing for me that I didn't realize at first is that there is so little of my time that's taken up in the thing that I love, which is baking. I also have to do payroll and I have to do advertising and I have to meet with clients and I have to organize the things that I buy, there's so much,” Amy said, “Ask yourself if you're okay with that.”
The big message she has is that if you really want to do a business you can. “If I can do this, anyone can,” Amy said.
The future of Mrs. Powell's includes continuing to serve her customers with the best quality and service and perhaps more expansion. Although she currently serves gluten free items, she'd like to open a gluten free only location.
Business Leadership Moment
Are you willing to pay a success tax in order to be successful? Renae discusses success tax and how looking at our challenges differently can give us a healthy perspective.