October 28, 2016
Paula Dempsey is owner and founder of Dempsey Bakery in downtown Little Rock.
Over 20 years ago, she and her husband, Demp Dempsey, started their first small business: Dempsey Film Group, which grew to over 30 employees. In 2011, they closed the film production company and opened the only gluten, soy and nut free bakery within a 500-mile radius of Little Rock, Arkansas.
When starting Dempsey Bakery, Paula’s motivation and dream was to focus on meeting the rising needs of people with food sensitivities. She knew nothing about the food business, so she hired a baker. Together, they spent one year experimenting and creating recipes that are now served in her Gluten, Soy, and Nut Free Bakery. Dempsey Bakery also provides baked goods to more than 20 restaurants and natural food stores across Arkansas.
Kerry and guest Paul Dempsey discuss opening a niche market business such as her allergen free Dempsey Bakery. Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
Dempsey Bakery – 501.375.2257
323 Cross Street, Little Rock, AR 72201
Open Tues.-Fri. 10am-5pm
Open Sat. 9 am-3 pm
Closed Sun. & Mon.
UP IN YOUR BUSINESS WITH KERRY MCCOY - EPISODE 07 - PAULA DEMPSEY
[0:00:09.1] TB: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Be sure to stay tuned till the end of the show to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents.
Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:19.3] KM: Hello, you’re listening to Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get all up in your business. You may be asking yourself what makes this lady qualified to do this, and I’ll tell you. Experience.
40 years ago with just $400, I started Arkansas Flag and Banner. Since then, it’s morphed into flagandbanner.com with sales nearing four million, that’s worth saying again, I started Arkansas Flag and Banner with just $400 and today we have sales nearing four million.
I started by selling flags door to door then went to telemarketing. Next mail order and catalog sales and today we rely heavily on the internet. In addition, over the last 40 years, I’ve navigated Flag and Banner through two recessions and two wars. When people find out I’m that woman who owns Arkansas Flag and Banner, they often say, I have heard about you and began asking me business advice.
I amaze even myself with all the knowledge I’ve gained.
For instance, you may not want to hear this. In business, there are very few overnight successes. Starting and owning a business takes persistence, perseverance and patience. When I started Arkansas Flag and Banner, I supplemented my income by waitressing.
All while I pedaled my flags door to door. After nine years, did you hear me? Nine years of working a part time job, the company began to grow and solely support me. My first hire was a book keeper to handle the clerical side of my business.
My first expansion was to begin the manufacturing of custom flags. So a sowing department developed. The next decade ushered in desert storm war. Flags were scarce so a screen printing department was hardly built to meet consumer demands.
In addition to sales and manufacturing, Flag and Banner now has a purchasing department, a shipping department, technology department, marketing department, call center and a retail store. I spearheaded the development of everyone of these departments.
My experience is deep and wide and my advice is free. But before we start taking calls, I want to introduce the people at the table with me. We have Tim Bo, our technician who will be taking your calls and pushing the buttons. Say hello Tim.
[0:02:43.0] TB: Hello Tim.
[0:02:45.9] KM: My guest today is Paula Dempsey. Owner and founder of Dempsey Bakery in Downtown Little Rock. Over 20 years ago, she and her husband Demp Dempsey opened their first small business, it was Dempsey Film Group which grew to over 30 employees.
In 2011, they closed the film production company and opened the only gluten, soy and nut free bakery within a 500 mile radius of Little Rock Arkansas. Paula’s motivation and dream when starting Dempsey Bakery was to focus on the rising needs of people with food sensitives.
Something she is very familiar with and is very close to her heart. Knowing nothing about the food business, she hired a baker and together they spent one year experimenting and creating recipes that she now serves up in her gluten, soy and nut free Dempsey Bakery. Welcome to the table Paula Dempsey.
[0:03:43.9] PD: Thank you Kerry.
[0:03:46.7] KM: Paula, today, I want to talk and tell our listeners about you, your true entrepreneur and you are and your family’s personal experience with food allergies and food sensitivities about your first business, Dempsey film group which is when I first met you and about your current successful business Dempsey Bakery on Cross street in Downtown Little Rock.
First, let’s talk about your personal experience with food allergies and how Dempsey Bakery came into existence. I know this is a good story.
[0:04:17.8] PD: Well, Kerry, several years ago probably about 15 now, my husband was very sick and he had sever psoriatic arthritis and we found this amazing physician and she diagnosed him with a gluten intolerant which anyone with a food sensitivity has heard of that and it’s similar to celiac disease in that it is a gluten issue. However, it is different as well but anyway, at that time, we were having grandchildren, we had some small ones then and they had all kinds of different – one was a little autistic and one was a failure to thrive…
[0:04:56.9] KM: What does that mean?
[0:04:58.2] PD: Well, a failure to thrive is a child that doesn’t want to eat and they don’t grow.
[0:05:04.2] KM: Maybe that’s me, no I’m kidding.
[0:05:06.8] PD: that’s certainly not me. We were floundering, little mothers were trying to figure out what was wrong with their children, taken them to lots of doctors and we just discovered this amazing doctor and all of our health issues actually had something to do with gluten.
[0:05:20.3] KM: No doctor ever says that.
[0:05:21.9] PD: I know.
[0:05:22.5] KM: When I tell my doctor I have a sensitivity to gluten, he goes, “Okay, whatever, it’s in your head, okay, go ahead.”
[0:05:27.4] PD: Yes, I know, it’s really difficult.
[0:05:29.7] KM: Was this a western doctor?
[0:05:31.3] PD: Yes, she is a family practice physician and now, she practices medicine different than most main stream medicine because she does not take insurance. In order to go through this system, it’s pretty expensive but when you’re as sick as my husband was and my grandchildren.
You feel like you’ve got to do something. We accidentally discovered her, it was a God thing I’m sure. My husband got better, my grandchildren got better.
[0:05:58.3] KM: How long did it take for you to know they were getting better? A week, two weeks?
[0:06:02.8] PD: Some of them a couple of weeks, some of them had to do more things to get better. It just depended on the severity of what was wrong with them. My husband noticed it within a couple of weeks that he was better. Then, I learned to cook gluten free, at that time most of it was due to gluten but then my grandchildren also had allergies to eggs and nuts and things like that. We were you know, trying to figure out a lot of stuff out.
I learned to cook that way and it’s not easy and…
[0:06:28.2] KM: I was going to say, how hard is that mindset to wrap your head around the concept of changing all of your recipes, your mother’s recipe’s. Did you use a lot of Campbell soup before this?
[0:06:40.0] PD: Well, I’ve always kind of done a lot of cooking because I had three boys and I couldn’t afford to feed them a lot of fast food so I’ve always cooked but you know, their favorite Macaroni and cheese of course was box cheese but I still cooked a lot.
We figured it out and I started learning to cook and there’s a support group in Little Rock that I was recommended. It’s called the Gluten Intolerance Group of Central Arkansas or Central Little Rock, I can’t remember. Anyway, I didn’t – you know, that was probably 12 years ago and it’s come a long way in my 12 years.
[0:07:10.9] KM: You’ve been doing this 12 years?
[0:07:12.4] PD: Not the bakery but yes, we’ve been doing, eating that way for at least 12 years. I started going to the groups and then I started subscribing to some magazines, one of them was called Living Without, I think it’s changed its name but just you know, just trying to learn and the more you do it, the better you get at it. Baking was always very difficult.
Cooking easy, baking hard.
[0:07:34.6] KM: Right. I want to tell my guest, if they’ve got questions for you because I bet a lot of people do. Like my first question is, well I’ll ask you when we get back, how you found the baker that knew how to do this and I also want to ask you about how challenging it was to even find the recipe so we’re going to talk about that in just a minute.
Okay. You’re listening to up in your business with Kerry McCoy on KABF and my guest today is Paula Dempsey from Dempsey Bakery. If you’ve got questions or comments for either of us, call.
[0:08:04.7] TB: 501-433-0088
[0:08:13.7] KM: You can email us with questions, that’s questions with an S to?
[0:08:17.3] TB: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[0:08:20.2] KM: I really admire you for being so proactive about this because most people don’t take responsibility for their health and most people and most doctors don’t believe that it’s the…
[0:08:31.4] PD: Yeah.
[0:08:32.4] KM: Right. It seems like we got this epidemic of nut allergies and gluten intolerance and even some meat allergies. I know several people who eat red meat and they break out in hives. What were the biggest challenges when you started to change your eating habits? The whole family getting involved or finding the recipes or…
[0:08:55.0] PD: Well, you know, it took me a while to learn how to convert a recipe. Especially baking as I said, you know, cooking, if you just cook fresh food and don’t fry it, you know, and flour it.
[0:09:07.7] KM: I don’t think I can do that.
[0:09:08.6] PD: I know, well you just have to learn. I mean, I can fry food now and I have flours and mixes and things that work but back then.
[0:09:14.0] KM: You can buy those flours at Dempsey Bakery and fry in them?
[0:09:16.8] PD: Yes you can, well we have a little gravy mix and we have breadcrumbs. You can. First, we didn’t do much of that at all. I got magazines that were gluten free and I would read the recipe and then I would be like, “Okay, how can I fix this for our family” but it gave me hints on combinations of things to change.
[0:09:36.6] KM: If someone wanted to email you or ask you questions about who the doctor was you used or some more detailed questions that are more private that they don’t really want to talk about on the air, is there a way for them to contact you?
[0:09:48.0] PD: Yeah, they can email me at email@example.com.
[0:09:52.1] KM: Dempsey is?
[0:09:53.6] PD: Dempsey. Or they can go on our website and look us up and you know, there’s like a link or whatever but also do Facebook, Dempsey Bakery on Facebook. I do like to do Doctor stuff a little more personable. They can come to the bakery, I’m really busy between 11 and about one and people call and making appointment and I’ll sit down and visit with them about our experiences.
[0:10:14.0] KM: You will?
[0:10:15.1] PD: Yup, I do it all the time.
[0:10:17.3] KM: Love that about this show. I love that about you, just mentoring to other people, sharing what you learned and what you know. I love that.
[0:10:25.9] PD: Well, you know, I don’t give away my recipes at the bakery but…
[0:10:29.1] KM: Well, I hope not.
[0:10:29.8] PD: I do have some that I do give away or I do talks in churches and women’s groups.
[0:10:34.1] KM: Well you can buy everything at your place just about.
[0:10:35.5] PD: You can.
[0:10:36.2] KM: You can buy the pizza crust, you can do whatever you want. Before you were into Dempsey Bakery which is only in 2011, you and your husband were in business together at Dempsey Film Group.
[0:10:45.9] PD: Correct.
[0:10:46.9] KM: Didn’t you have a career before that?
[0:10:48.0] PD: Yes, I’ve been in banking and real estate and my husband’s been in the TV business his whole life. When he started on his own, I did his book keeping, you know, on the side because I’m not a book keeper and I’m not an accountant but you know, I can put numbers on a piece of paper and add them up.
[0:11:02.8] KM: Well you were in banking you said.
[0:11:04.3] PD: yeah, but I wasn’t, I mean, I don’t have any formal education but anyway, I kept his books and what I could do and then we had an accountant do the formal stuff. It got to the point to where I was spending more time helping him that selling real estate so we had to make a decision.
[0:11:18.0] KM: Was he independent film maker when you were helping him?
[0:11:22.2] PD: yeah, well we had a small business with only someone that answered the phone back then, we didn’t have cellphones and then him and then he would hire freelance people to help him with his work.
[0:11:32.4] KM: Then when I learned about you, you were in an old church, Dempsey Film, was he at that time that you were his book keeper? Was he in that church?
[0:11:42.6] PD: No, we didn’t buy the church till we had about 10 employees or something. Before that, he worked in an office behind John’s productions because he had worked for Gary and they kind of worked together a little bit and then before that he was in television. He’s been around a long time.
[0:11:57.7] KM: He’s a videographer. Is that what they call it?
[0:11:58.7] PD: Well he’s really, I mean, he’s real career, he directed TV commercials and TV shows in sports and then he also was a film, we used film back then with big 35 millimeter cameras and things like that and…
[0:12:14.2] KM: My gosh, I remember. You all came out and filmed me for a commercial for Twin City Bank.
[0:12:20.8] PD: I remember that.
[0:12:20.7] KM: yup, you do? I’m so impressed and they brought this, it was so professional, they brought a track in, they set the camera man on the track in a chair.
[0:12:29.3] PD: That was probably my husband, I bet.
[0:12:31.9] KM: I didn’t know I’d ever met your husband, I bet it was him. That’s just fascinating. You decided how long to go over, how long did it take you, he started getting more and more employees so you decided to go over there and…
[0:12:44.5] PD: And help, yeah. I kind of ran the business, I mean, not really ran it. He was the talent and the creator and all that but he’s not really good at book keeping and details and the IRS and paying taxes which most really talented people are not.
[0:12:59.5] KM: But you got to do it or you’ll be ending up like Willy Nelson. You know, he got in a lot of trouble.
[0:13:03.7] PD: yup, I was audited twice and we never had anything go on.
[0:13:07.0] KM: Congratulations.
[0:13:07.9] PD: Thank you. Anyway, that’s the part I did and he did his thing and I did mine.
[0:13:13.0] KM: You grew that business to 30 employees?
[0:13:16.4] PD: Yeah, we did.
[0:13:19.2] KM: then technology changed.
[0:13:20.6] PD: It did change and I have to say too that that was towards the end of our business, my husband was starting to get really sick, this was before we found this doctor and he was taking some really toxic drugs.
[0:13:31.4] KM: Steroids.
[0:13:32.7] PD: Well he took steroids and then he took a cancer drug called Methotrexate.
[0:13:36.0] KM: For inflammation?
[0:13:37.4] PD: Yeah. It just did a lot, it played havoc on everything from depression to – you know, anytime you’re really sick and then you add pain pills and things like that, it’s hard.
[0:13:47.8] KM: Well, he probably had a lot of physical problems from carrying around cameras for so long.
[0:13:52.4] PD: Yeah, he already had three back surgeries by then.
[0:13:54.1] KM: Is that from cameras, carrying around cameras?
[0:13:55.6] PD: Well that plus his arthritis that we didn’t really – you know, there was a lot of things going on that we didn’t know about. Anyway, technology played a huge part and the reason we closed the business.
[0:14:07.6] KM: I was wondering.
[0:14:08.5] PD: Yeah, because when we were really up and going and they were shooting film. We would – our edit suite costs over a million dollars.
[0:14:16.0] KM: Wow.
[0:14:17.3] PD: Not anybody could just walk in and start a production company. I mean, it was expensive and when you shot film back in the good old days, I guess we would have called it, you know, it was $500 of finished minute and if you messed up or you didn’t know what you were doing, it could cost you a lot of money.
You just didn’t take those kinds of chances.
[0:14:38.6] KM: But then when they came out with camcorders, I think they were called?
[0:14:41.6] PD: Well, even that. Our camcorders, we had some expensive ones, they were like 80 grand a piece but apple came out with — I don’t even know what they were called but it was an edit system that you could buy for like 15 grand. It did a lot of what we already did and then the cameras you know, these Nikons and Canons, now you can shoot video with them, they’re three or $4,000 and ours were 80.
[0:15:03.9] KM: I mean, you can shoot pretty good video with my phone, I did that last night.
[0:15:06.3] PD: Yeah, you sure can.
[0:15:08.0] KM: I was watching a band, I was amazed.
[0:15:09.9] PD: Then I know Kerry you remember because Twin City Bank was one of them. Back in the day, the local people, the banks, Twin City Bank and Worthen Bank and all those banks and then Blue Cross and Energy.
They spent a lot of money on their TV commercials, I mean, they were top notch, better than Memphis and they just, everybody just quit doing that.
[0:15:31.1] KM: Yeah. Now they got drones, they just fly a drone over and…
[0:15:35.2] PD: Yeah, I mean it’s yeah. You think about it, the utility companies don’t even advertise anymore and that was a big part of our business.
[0:15:40.3] KM: I had never thought about that.
[0:15:42.6] PD: I mean, rarely.
[0:15:42.9] KM: Was there one moment that you said, “This is a dying industry, Demp, we need to change horses in the middle of the stream here.”
[0:15:49.9] PD: Well we did have one aha moment we were really struggling a little bit in February and we kind of pulled it together and then we lost a very big video account, it was a training account, but we’d had it for like 15 years and we had 17 shows booked with them through the rest of the year and that was sort of our meat and potatoes.
They just called us up one day and said, “We don’t think we’re going to do that anymore, we’re going to spend all of our money on internet.”
[0:16:18.1] KM: Wow.
[0:16:18.9] PD: You know, he wasn’t even working then because he was so sick.
[0:16:21.7] KM: What year was that? 2011?
[0:16:23.3] PD: 2011 in July and we just, I came home, I told him, my son was working for us, nothing’s worse than having a family member lose their job that you provided, it’s awful. We just, all three of us said you know what? We just, we don’t want to dig a hole anymore that we can’t get out of and really, we had the business at that time for our son and our employees, not even for my husband.
[0:16:50.7] KM: How hard was that really?
[0:16:52.1] PD: It was the hardest thing, the day we told our employees, I went home, I was so upset, my husband couldn’t even come.
[0:16:59.9] KM: I wish people could see your face talking about it. You're still upset by it.
[0:17:03.6] PD: We’ll never get over it, my husband will never get over it. He practically had a nervous breakdown over it, it just broke his heart.
[0:17:10.6] KM: 30 employees, you called a meeting.
[0:17:13.1] PD: Yup, and said I’m sorry guys but we had told them you know, because we had laid off about five people which we’ve never, we were always so proud we’d never ever had to lay anybody off.
Those were already gone and then we told them then, if we have to do this again, we will all walk out together. That’s what we did.
[0:17:33.0] KM: How many months from that meeting till you walked out together?
[0:17:36.0] PD: From the meeting when we told all of our employees, it was a Wednesday and we gave them a month to pull their own act together, we sold them equipment, we gave them our clients and told them, until we had everything liquidated, they could work out of our offices, use our computers, our copiers and build their own small businesses and that’s what they did.
Most all of them are still in the business and a lot of them still have our old clients.
[0:18:02.8] KM: I love that, when we come back, I want you to tell me if you had a plan in the back of your mind. We’re talking to Paula Dempsey from Dempsey Bakery, this is up in your business with Kerry McCoy and if you got questions for me or Paula, call us.
[0:18:16.7] TB: That number is 501-433-0088.
[0:18:29.1] KM: Yes, you can email us because some people don’t want to call in questions.
[0:18:32.3] TB: Questions@upyourbusiness.org.
[0:18:36.6] KM: You gave out for your employees.
[0:18:39.1] PD: Yup.
[0:18:39.8] KM: But did you know what you were going to do?
[0:18:42.0] PD: Well, sadly and I guess a good thing, the whole bakery is a God thing, there’s no doubt about it.
[0:18:49.2] KM: I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs tell me that.
[0:18:51.2] PD: I know. Well, because it was totally out of a passion, not anything I had in my mind for all my life that I wanted to be in the food business because I never wanted to be in the food business.
There was such a need including my own family. You know, sometimes you just have to change gears when things hit you in the face and I would have never started that bakery had I known we were going to close the film business because we thought we would use that income to support us until the bakery, like you walking out…
[0:19:19.9] KM: So you had already started the bakery?
[0:19:21.4] PD: Well I had already hired everybody in July and we thought we’d be open but you know, when you’re working with the city and trying to get your permits, it takes longer than you think. We opened it in September but.
[0:19:30.4] KM: Well I read in the opening statement about, you spent a year…
[0:19:35.5] PD: Yes I did.
[0:19:36.4] KM: With a cook, with a chef or baker, I guess they’re called bakers. Baking just to find recipes. Now, that was part of the year we’re talking about right now that you are already doing recipes.
[0:19:47.2] KM: Well we’d already, because I didn’t really – our business was thriving and then it wasn’t. I mean, it was very fast. The year before we closed the business, the Film Group business, I had already hired this baker and he worked in his mother’s kitchen, she had a really nice real expensive, nice kitchen and so he would bake and try recipes at his house and then I’d come over and we’d talk about them or whatever, he’d bring them to the Film Group and we share them and you know.
You know how you test recipes. We get one that’s pretty good, we had several people already following us that we knew that were family or friends at church or whatever and so we’d take food to everybody or I would and try it.
[0:20:26.4] PD: Did you have your location yet?
[0:20:27.3] KM: No we didn’t. Was it hard to find a baker?
[0:20:30.4] PD: Well yeah, that was another God thing, he literally had lost his job and he was a friend of a friend and he was very talented and he begged me to let him try. I kind of had it in my mind for like six years but in the gluten free business, there is no school where you can learn or…
[0:20:48.1] KM: You’re on the leading edge.
[0:20:49.2] PD: Where there’s no set recipes and the ones that are successful at it are not sharing theirs. We really literally just would pull recipes down and because we had so many allergies in our family, we would say okay, we can’t use that so let’s you know, because you said you already been gluten free and nut free and soy free for 10 years already.
[0:21:11.0] KM: But you had some recipes but did you manufacture them on a large scale and would they work on a large scale?
[0:21:16.7] PD: Exactly, I never did successfully do bread personally, the baker and I. I mean, he did it. Bread is like one of the hardest things to make good gluten free.
[0:21:26.9] KM: Without wheat flour.
[0:21:27.8] PD: Yeah, it’s really hard.
[0:21:29.6] KM: I think everybody that meets you knows you have a lot of energy and I told you already I’m so on your train, I’m such a big monster fan of yours for being so proactive about your health issues and stuff but I almost feel like Dempsey Bakery, speaking of a God thing is a community service.
[0:21:48.3] PD: I have people tell me that and they’ll tell me that’s a mission because I am really helping the community.
[0:21:52.5] KM: You used all your own money too?
[0:21:54.0] PD: Well, we did borrow money to build the bakery because that took quite a bit to buy the equipment and because we have the big oven and freezers and all that.
[0:22:02.1] KM: Was the health department easy to work with?
[0:22:04.3] PD: Well, they’ve been so far. I think it’s going to be a little more difficult as we get more into the manufacturing but really right now, they just consider us kind of like a local restaurant. It’s not been too hard so far and we’re so picky about everything that actually, they kind of like us.
[0:22:20.1] KM: That’s good. It’s a clean kitchen, I’ve seen it, you could eat off the floors in there. Does Demp still work with you?
[0:22:25.9] PD: he doesn’t really work with me much, he’ll come down and help me you know, fix things and things like that but he’s never been much in the kitchen and you know, every now and then when we’re doing a lot of packaging lately, he started to kind of come around and help package…
[0:22:38.3] KM: Do you miss him working with him?
[0:22:40.0] PD: I do but we didn’t really see that much of each other during the day, we had two cars and he was out in the field and I was in the office and.
[0:22:47.5] KM: Yeah, but when you came home at night, I know that my husband.
[0:22:49.6] PD: That’s all we talked about.
[0:22:50.5] KM: I know my kids hate it.
[0:22:52.4] PD: Mine too.
[0:22:53.9] KM: They would be like, “Would you all please not talk about Arkansas Flag and Banner.” We’re like “Okay.” And then we just sit there and stare at each other.
[0:23:00.1] PD: Yeah, we did that too. Yup.
[0:23:03.0] KM: You have a store in Downtown Little Rock, but that’s not the only way you sell.
[0:23:06.9] PD: That’s right.
[0:23:07.0] KM: You have a very diverse distribution.
[0:23:08.7] PD: We do, we sell a lot of things at Drug Emporium, a little bit at Natural Grocers.
[0:23:14.2] KM: You sell at Drug Emporium? Locally?
[0:23:16.4] PD: Yup.
[0:23:17.2] KM: Or it’s not nation…
[0:23:18.9] PD: They only have five stores, Drug Emporium only has five and they’re all in Texas but this one.
[0:23:23.5] KM: I didn’t know that.
[0:23:25.0] PD: They only buy locally from us and now a little curb market in Memphis is carrying a lot of our products.
[0:23:31.0] KM: I’ve seen it in Fayetteville.
[0:23:32.6] PD: A little, yup, there’s Black Board.
[0:23:34.0] KM: Black, for us.
[0:23:34.8] PD: Yup. Then we have our crackers are in 80 stores, 150 miles around Memphis because the company that gets them from us that distributes them, they’re called Discover Local. You can find them in a lot of Kroger but they can only do it like within 150 miles of their location. There’s a lot of them in Memphis area, some in Kentucky.
[0:23:58.4] KM: What’s the name of that?
[0:23:59.5] PD: It’s called Discover Local. It’s a kiosk that’s in the some of the bigger grocery stores.
[0:24:04.7] KM: Really? I’ve never seen that.
[0:24:06.2] PD: They sell the fish breading that Young sells and they sell, I think they may sell Donny Fornosi, just local seasonings and sauces and you know, things like that.
[0:24:17.1] KM: Are they owned locally?
[0:24:18.8] PD: They’re owned from somebody out of Memphis.
[0:24:21.3] KM: I think you said that. We have a caller. Hello, you're listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy and Paula Dempsey. you’re’ on the air, do you have a question?
[0:24:30.5] Female: Yeah, I’d like to find out what kind of permits did Paula have to get to open her bakery?
[0:24:35.3] PD: Well, really just the same kind for restaurant. Now, we are certified gluten free with the Gluten Intolerance Group of America but that came later and you know, If you want to be certified, it’s kind of complicated but we did it.
Just to have a gluten free or any kind of bakery I guess in little rock or in the city, county, you just go through it just like you would for regular restaurant.
[0:25:00.1] KM: Do you have to have a grease trap?
[0:25:01.1] PD: We do have to have a grease trap.
[0:25:02.3] KM: That seems to be the most expensive biggest hurdle
[0:25:05.4] PD: $20,000 and we have no grease, we have been there five years and they come and inspect it every year and we’ve never even had to have it cleaned out like they do sewer, ever. Because we don’t’ use anything that ends up in there but you have to have them and it was the minimum size you could have is $20,000.
[0:25:25.3] KM: I think that’s cheap, I think I’ve heard more than that.
[0:25:27.4] PD: Well, it depends on the size of your restaurant and your water lines and I don’t know how they figure it but that was the smallest one. I came to the bakery when we were doing the construction and you know, they’re putting in our grease trap and nearly think about it.
I walked out the back of that bakery and they had a whole dug as big as a room. I was just like, my gosh.
[0:25:49.8] KM: You know, they recycle that grease.
[0:25:52.8] PD: Well, we don’t have any grease but yeah.
[0:25:54.4] KM: But I have a girlfriend who sells that grease, her whole job is to go around and pick her – she sells that product, they suck it up and they re clean it and recycle it and it’s an environmental, it’s a good thing, it’s environ – they recycle grease which is really great which I guess is why we’re trapping it.
[0:26:10.2] PD: Yup.
[0:26:11.2] KM: So for all the products that you deliver and that you sell everywhere, do you deliver them? Do you ship them? How do you get there?
[0:26:18.1] PD: A little bit of everything, we have it Cisco Arkansas carries our hamburger buns for restaurants.
[0:26:23.5] KM: Well that’s a big deal.
[0:26:25.5] PD: It is but it’s just in Arkansas but it’s still a really big deal because we’re really small. For them to pay attention to us and have that product for local restaurants well actually, anybody in Arkansas restaurant can get our hamburger buns.
[0:26:37.3] KM: I was just going to say, you’re not only just sell to grocery stores, I see your products in restaurants everywhere.
[0:26:41.7] PD: Yeah, well one of my goals when I open the bakery was really so that people could eat gluten free or allergy friendly, anywhere they went to eat, everybody eats out and it’s so hard and so since I sort of did it just out of my passion and need, that was what people needed.
I went out, I’m the only real seller and so I talked restaurants into carrying my products.
[0:27:04.2] KM: That’s an energy.
[0:27:04.8] PD: Well it’s a drive, you know, you have to build your business.
[0:27:08.5] KM: Yeah, you got a lot of energy. I never seen you where you’re not just doing a million things. I’m here with Paula Dempsey from Dempsey Bakery, a gluten soy and nut free bakery in Downtown Little Rock, if you’ve got questions for her, you can call.
[0:27:20.7] TB: 501-433-0088
[0:27:27.6] KM: He says that so fast, if I was writing that down driving down the road, don’t write that down if you’re driving down the road but if I was writing that down, driving down the road but I never do that, I would make you say it one more time Tim.
[0:27:39.2] TB: 501-433-0088.
[0:27:43.8] KM: You can email us at questions.
[0:27:48.3] KM: Paula said, if you want to do a private conversation with you, they can come see you at the bakery or they can email you at?
[0:27:54.7] PD: At firstname.lastname@example.org.
[0:27:58.1] KM: Yeah, you never get tired of talking about it?
[0:28:00.1] PD: Well, it’s just, you know, it has healed our family and when you’ve been sick for a long time and I mean, people say wow, it’s so expensive. Well how expensive do you think it was for my husband to not to be able to work?
[0:28:12.5] KM: You know, I hear that about exercise because you’re an exerciser and…
[0:28:15.3] PD: I’m not, I should be.
[0:28:17.3] KM: Well, that’s all right, can’t be everything. People say to me all the time, I can’t afford to exercise, I don’t have the time to exercise and I’m like, it’s cheaper than the doctor.
[0:28:28.1] PD: Yeah.
[0:28:29.6] KM: It’s less time than being sick.
[0:28:30.4] PD: Yeah, I mean, I can’t tell you the difference and I would tell you and in private meeting. Also, I get a lots of comments from my customers that have given me their – everyone likes to tell their story.
[0:28:41.0] KM: I’ve got one.
[0:28:41.6] PD: And…
[0:28:41.7] KM: I’ve got a good one. I just found this one out Wednesday night but my listeners need to know this. I just thought as I got to be my age that I just couldn’t drink anymore because I always have these horrible hangovers. I mean, I could have one or two drinks and just have a horrible hangover and thought, There’s just no new — what’s that Eddy’s song about I need a new drug or something?
Anyway, I just had no, I didn’t have any vices anymore and so I’m out the other day and I’m moving my mother Wednesday, she’s 93 and I moved her from assisted living to super assisted living and I’m exhausted and I go to my girlfriend’s house for a dinner party and I walk in, it’s about 7:00 and I said, “Just give me a drink.”
They fix me a vodka which I can’t drink anymore and it says on the bottle, gluten free. I said, “All vodka’s gluten free.” All my girlfriends said, “No it’s not.” I said, “Potatoes aren’t gluten, some people think potatoes are gluten” and they say, I said, “This is made from potatoes” and they said, “No, it’s not.”
We had to Google up at the dinner party, vodka has been made from wheat and the tea toes is one of the few gluten free vodkas that’s still made from potatoes and now I don’t know if I’m happy or sad to find out I can drink vodka again.
[0:30:00.7] PD: Yup. You know, it’s funny, we don’t really realize like Grey Goose, the premium one.
[0:30:06.2] KM: That’s what I always thought we should drink. It’s awful for you.
[0:30:09.6] PD: We are not vodka drinkers. My husband used to drink gin and tonic but used to be a really big beer drinker. If you’re in the TV business back in the day.
[0:30:15.7] KM: You cannot drink beer.
[0:30:16.7] PD: You know, you were a beer drinker, there was just no doubt about it. He had to give up all alcohol when he was on that medicine. He grieved drinking beer like my God, I would get so tired of hearing him say, margarita.
[0:30:34.4] KM: Rue the day he gave up beer.
[0:30:36.8] PD: Then funny, when he finally got well and the doctor told him you know, you could have alcohol now. There’s no reason not. Certain ones, not all of them and gluten free beer and whatever. Now, when he does, he gets a terrible headache and he said, “It’s like starting over.” He’ll drink a margarita on Sunday but he rarely ever really drinks any alcohol anymore.
[0:30:54.5] KM: He’s out of practice.
[0:30:55.5] PD: He is.
[0:30:56.9] KM: Well, for anybody out there that has really terrible hangovers that drinks vodka, you may have a gluten intolerance.
[0:31:03.1] PD: That’s right. Or, I have a lot of people that I know say they can’t drink beer anymore because it just messes with their stomach so bad. Well, it might not be the only thing that messes with their stomach.
[0:31:12.8] KM: What do you mean by that? Because the beer, you mean, the gluten in the beer. Yeah, it’s all hops and beer. Do you have much spoilage in your products?
[0:31:21.9] PD: No, we really don’t because anything we don’t sell that day we freeze. Most people in the food sensitivity world, they freeze everything anyway because they can’t eat it all at one time.
[0:31:33.5] KM: Yeah, I keep all my bread in the freezer.
[0:31:35.1] PD: Yeah, we just put it in the freezer and sell it for a dollar less and we sell frozen bread all the time and then a lot of our cookies that we have left over, we make cheesecake crust with them. We repurpose and then we have this little – I don’t know if you’ve seen them but we call them samiches because our decorator’s name is Sam.
[0:31:53.7] KM: How cute.
[0:31:54.4] PD: She used to make them for her husband and…
[0:31:55.9] KM: She is named Sam?
[0:31:57.0] PD: Yeah, she would make these cake sandwiches which we call Samiches and then this like, one day we’re like, wow, let’s just cut these up and make little samiches for the bakery. Our scrap cake, we turn in to little upside down inverted cupcakes and every time, we only have then when we’re baking cakes and we will sell those almost, we don’t waste one inch of…
[0:32:21.5] KM: What is your most popular product? I mean, I know I always come to get the club sandwich because I never did have a club sandwich.
[0:32:27.1] PD: Well, our sandwiches, we have a Ruben, that’s another rare one but just on a day to day basis, there’s one cake called the hot milk cake that’s extremely popular that I actually created from an old family recipe. One of our family favorite cakes.
[0:32:40.9] KM: You substitute?
[0:32:42.3] PD: I substitute. That was way before I hired a baker or anything and then our bread of course because bread’s really hard.
[0:32:48.4] KM: Yeah, bread’s really hard.
[0:32:50.3] PD: Our hamburger buns are very popular.
[0:32:53.5] KM: I see those at restaurants.
[0:32:54.3] PD: Yeah, now our crackers are becoming hugely popular.
[0:32:56.4] KM: I love your crackers.
[0:32:58.1] PD: Our crackers and our bread are actually egg and dairy free as well.
[0:33:01.1] KM: I wish you’d start selling those crackers at the convenience stores so that when I go in there, I didn’t just have to eat nuts on end. I don’t know what your family eats at the candy, nuts in the candy, gluten and they can’t eat milk.
[0:33:09.3] PD: It’s hard.
[0:33:11.1] KM: I mean you’re like, my gosh, you’re starving to get – I guess they don’t have any weight issues?
[0:33:14.5] PD: No, my whole family is all small but you know, the saddest thing is like, when you travel on vacation like the beach or whatever and you got grandkids, four or six grandkids in the car, you cannot take them in a gas station because there’s so many allergies. You have to bring everything with you.
[0:33:31.4] KM: I was in Conway on Monday and I was by the nut section looking for something to snack on at a convenience store before I headed back to Little Rock and they had little tiny individual peanut butter and cheese crackers gluten free.
I had never seen them before ever.
[0:33:43.7] PD: I’ve not seen them. I’m sure they’re wonderful.
[0:33:46.5] KM: They were great. They were absolutely great. I read, when I was reading about you, I have to just almost have all my friends on so that I can read about them and learn about them but I read about you and that you’re going to do manufacturing side of the food business, what does manufacturing side of the food business mean?
[0:34:04.8] PD: Yeah, well…
[0:34:06.5] KM: You said it had challenges, special challenges.
[0:34:08.6] PD: Yes, very much. We do a little bit now, our crackers are manufactured or considered manufactured because they are sold in other stores and they’re packaged with like the date and we have to track them and you know, when you start getting into stores, you have to cross both way tracks of where they’re going and who bought them with numbers.
[0:34:28.0] KM: You do?
[0:34:28.9] PD: Yeah, because, if somebody has a recall, you’ve got to be able to go in and tell everybody. Yeah. That’s why we had to get us our certification because now, in order, supposedly to sell in stores and things like that, you’re supposed to have some sort of a gluten certification.
[0:34:46.8] KM: Right.
[0:34:47.7] PD: Because people need to trust that you know.
[0:34:50.2] KM: Do you have a secretary that does all that?
[0:34:51.5] PD: No, we have a manager and she’s an engineer that she’s kind of helped develop the systems to keep up with that.
[0:34:58.3] KM: Oh so you have a manager that does that?
[0:34:59.9] PD: Yeah.
[0:35:00.3] KM: Because you are upfront.
[0:35:01.0] PD: Yeah, I am upfront.
[0:35:01.8] KM: So I guess you did never read that book called The E-Myth where it says you are not supposed to work in your business?
[0:35:06.8] PD: No but I have heard of that and we have some challenges with that because I could probably sell a lot more if I did but so far that’s one of the biggest challenges as a small business. Do you work in the business or do you sell the business? And I’ve had people tell me, “Well you know you’ve got to get out there” and you know –
[0:35:23.0] KM: Work in the business or work on the business.
[0:35:25.6] PD: Right, exactly and so I am still not good at both. I mean at one or the other. I still play both roles but maybe in the next year or two we’ll get big enough where I can do it but I do enjoy seeing all my customers too.
[0:35:39.3] KM: You do and you know why? Because you come over and you tell the story of Demp and you feed your grandkids and you tell them all and we validate all of us because all of us have heard it’s in your head and my girlfriend, I hope she’s listening, she says, “Oh it’s in your head” now she’s allergic to beef and when she eats beef – she doesn’t even know it’s on her sandwich but if her sandwich is even brushed by a piece of ham her ears will turn red, her neck will get red and I’ll say, “oh you’re turning red” and she’s like, “Oh there must have been some…”
[0:36:06.2] PD: It must be in her head right?
[0:36:08.4] KM: So I said, “So your inflammation is on the outside. So you can validate it but my inflammation is on the inside” and they always wanted to say to me that it was fibromyalgia which I never bought into. I’m not even sure what that is but I wonder how many people with fibromyalgia could give up gluten and find that they’re wide spread inflammation would disappear?
[0:36:32.1] PD: Yes, well it probably would. I mean as I tell people depending on your drug regimen and how long you’ve been sick is to how fast or how quick it will always improve it. Completely heal it, you’ll never know. My husband still has a little bit of psoriasis even after all these years but oh my gosh, compared to what he had.
[0:36:50.0] KM: It cleared his psoriasis?
[0:36:51.6] PD: Yeah, it did.
[0:36:53.2] KM: Now I am surprised, it did?
[0:36:54.4] PD: Yeah.
[0:36:54.6] KM: I’ve read that too.
[0:36:55.6] PD: Yeah, well it’s all an inflammatory disease autoimmune and any autoimmune could benefit from a gluten free diet and many times it has triggered the autoimmune disease. So that’s what triggered my husband’s. It can hit you when you’re one, two or 50 or 75 or 80. It’s just –
[0:37:14.6] KM: Yeah because I was fine. I am still fine, I am healthy as a horse but I had this wide spread moving around inflammation. My doctor, my husband, my children everybody was like, “Mother you are such a hypochondriac” and it was just really upsetting. So my girlfriend who had given up gluten years ago said, “When are you going to try giving up gluten?” I said, “That is so stupid. I am not going to do that. I love pasta. I am not doing that”.
Finally I got to the point where I was like, “Okay I’ll try anything” and I gave it up and within two weeks I could tell a difference but you can’t cut down.
[0:37:45.6] PD: No, you have to just a couple of teaspoons –
[0:37:48.8] KM: That’s right.
[0:37:49.4] PD: It will make you inflamed so you have to 100% give it up and even for me and I am not severely intolerant but if I go out to eat and there’s some pastries and things at certain restaurants that oh man, I’ll just scrape it off and eat the filling. I always get the ulcers in my mouth within 24 hours. I mean big on this and I’ve had it all my life. They were so annoying. I never get them anymore unless I am contaminated and first thing bam, I get the ulcers. So I know and –
[0:38:21.7] KM: Internal inflammation.
[0:38:23.1] PD: Yeah and it will clear up but it wouldn’t if I kept eating it.
[0:38:26.3] KM: Right. So I am here with Paula Dempsey from Dempsey Bakery and this is Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. If you want to call us and talk to us or you’ve got questions for either of us, the number is –
[0:38:37.5] TB: 501-433-0088.
[0:38:42.7] KM: Say that again?
[0:38:43.1] TB: 501-433-0088.
[0:38:47.0] KM: Or you can email me question at –
[0:38:49.4] TB: email@example.com.
[0:38:51.6] KM: We’ve got 15 minutes and every time at the end of the show, we have somebody call that we cannot get to in the last five minutes because they’re like, “Oh my gosh the show is almost over. I’m going to call in” so if you’ve got a call you need to do it now. That’s probably going to be our last plug for calling in.
[0:39:07.9] PD: And Kerry I just want to say to you too that we’ve known each other for a long time and what you’ve done in your business is remarkable. I mean I am struggling, struggling, struggling every day and I think, “Oh my gosh five years, oh my gosh!” and it took you nine. So it takes a long time and perseverance is probably one of the most important things that you have going for you and for me, motivation, perseverance is easier for me because this is a passion of health.
That I have stumbled upon and my family so it’s something that you really want to share as opposed to just something that you’re not that attached to, you know?
[0:39:51.7] KM: Right, thank you Paula.
[0:39:53.4] PD: Well, I do in mind. I am just, “Oh my gosh! That flag!” and I mean you don’t really see what you do because you are in that one building and who knows what’s going on in there? You are selling all over the internet and –
[0:40:04.6] KM: A million dollars a year on the internet. I shock myself sometimes.
[0:40:09.3] PD: I mean I’ve gone in there and it’s like, “Oh I need a flag” or you’ve sewn some embroidery or some tent things for us at the film business before.
[0:40:16.3] KM: Oh you know that’s right.
[0:40:17.3] PD: You remember?
[0:40:17.7] KM: Well I hope that if somebody is listening does get that persistence-perseverance and I hope today, I mean you’ve been only doing it for four-five years so yeah, you’ve got four more years to go, nine years.
[0:40:29.0] PD: You know that I am a lot older than when you started. I don’t know if I can do it.
[0:40:32.7] KM: Oh yes you can, my gosh you’ve got the energy of a teenager. So do you spend 30% of your day daydreaming?
[0:40:39.5] PD: No. I don’t really –
[0:40:40.8] KM: That’s the average person, spends 30% of their day daydreaming.
[0:40:44.0] PD: I don’t think I am much of a daydreamer but I do wake up in the night a lot of times and something gets in my head like the other day, I had a son that is really completely cured a lot of his health issues. He had them all of his life with a grain free diet which is a whole other story but anyway –
[0:41:00.7] KM: You mean besides gluten there is a whole other grain?
[0:41:02.9] PD: Oh yeah, grains or they call that, I know you’ve heard of the paleo diet. Well it’s a hunter-gatherer diet which some of our bodies that’s really – we’re still in that mode and so they didn’t need grains back in those days. Well anyway, it’s a whole other story but when I get an idea like I read this recipe for chicken pot pie that was grain-free. So paleo grain-free chicken pot pie and my son is my biggest eater, always has been.
He’s a little bitty thing and he loves food more than life and he has the most limited diet of our entire family.
[0:41:35.3] KM: Ain’t that the way it always goes?
[0:41:36.5] PD: His sweet little wife cooks for him, I mean it’s just amazing what she does for him and how hard it is to do all of that but he’s well and healthy and he was going down a pretty dark part for health and so anyway, I could not sleep thinking about this silly chicken pot pie. I have the luxury now of coming up with an idea and going back in the back and getting people to whip it up for me. I don’t have to do it all myself in the morning.
[0:42:00.8] KM: You didn’t get up at 3 AM in the morning and go down there and start cooking.
[0:42:02.8] PD: No, I didn’t but I was thinking about it.
[0:42:04.6] KM: Yeah, I know right?
[0:42:05.6] PD: If I could I probably would have but anyway, they were coming in this week and they’ve moved out of town and so I have to have that pot pie for him. So probably soon we’ll have them in the bakery because that’s how my brain thinks. Well, my son needs it and we create a grain free bread specifically for him and he loves it and he can eat it and so now, we’re making it on Tuesdays and we have a pretty big base that comes in on Tuesdays and we sell out of it every Tuesday so we are having to up it.
[0:42:35.3] KM: Well good, I am coming on Tuesday.
[0:42:36.0] PD: And we have samples on Tuesdays too so people can sample the bread.
[0:42:39.3] KM: What time does the baker get there in the morning?
[0:42:41.4] PD: Our baker gets there about 2:00 in the morning.
[0:42:44.3] KM: Oh my gosh, I’d be up. I’m up anyway I might as well go there in the bakery.
[0:42:47.1] PD: Well I think he’s kind of that way too and he likes working – he really works by himself most of the time because when he’s baking all this stuff, there’s a lot of thought in – I mean I don’t know about you but I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve forgotten the salt, I’ve forgotten the – well you know you are doing a 20 or 40 times batch and you forget the yeast or whatever, you’ve ruined some very expensive product.
So he is there by himself and he turns the radio on and he’s got his long little routine and then we have another baker that comes up at 5 AM.
[0:43:19.3] KM: But he’s the same guy you started with?
[0:43:21.3] PD: No he’s not actually but he came like the first month we opened he was a friend of the other baker and the other baker has moved on.
[0:43:27.1] KM: So he moved to another state?
[0:43:28.6] PD: No, he’s still in Arkansas but he had a non-compete clause so he can’t cook –
[0:43:32.5] KM: Gluten-free?
[0:43:33.1] PD: Right, well he probably could now I guess but.
[0:43:35.4] KM: He’s probably like, “That’s too hard. Why don’t I cook something else?”
[0:43:38.1] PD: Yeah, well there’s not a lot of money in it so.
[0:43:40.4] KM: You don’t need to tell him. He saw that first hand did he?
[0:43:42.5] PD: Yes he did.
[0:43:43.2] KM: So what is your goal? What do you want to be when you grow up? Where do you want this to be when you are dreaming about being your business? I mean I know what I’d dream about but what do you dream about?
[0:43:53.5] PD: Well honestly I never really thought that the food that I make would be some of the best in the country. I never really thought that. I don’t know, I just wanted to be good and I didn’t –
[0:44:04.9] KM: And who says it’s the best in the country?
[0:44:06.4] PD: People from all over the country that come to the bakery. It’s pretty amazing, yeah.
[0:44:10.6] KM: I love that. It’s so niche and unique, it’s fabulous.
[0:44:13.9] PD: Yeah, well you know I guess my goal in life is that people can have really good fresh gluten-free food all over the country. I don’t know how you get there but if my food is really good and we can figure out ways to package it but you know –
[0:44:27.6] KM: Do you want to franchise?
[0:44:28.5] PD: I’ve thought about it a lot because people always ask and I always say to them, “Well if you know somebody with a lot of money that wants to come and talk to me then send them on” so far, nobody has come back to me with a lot of money and said, “I want to do this in Texas” or wherever.
[0:44:41.7] KM: People ask me if they can sell flags for me all the time. We have a guy right now in North Carolina, an older gentleman who is trying to sell flags and its complex.
[0:44:51.3] PD: Yes it is.
[0:44:52.3] KM: And so it’s hard to train and I have had people that want to sell the product and I am always trying out how do you put together a training program but I would think that you could really – I think somebody is going to come up with a gluten-free Panera bread? I mean it could be Dempsey Bakery.
[0:45:11.2] PD: Well you know the thing is you’ve got to just build it until someone discovers you and you’ve got someone out there I guess. It does all the things that I don’t really know much about. I know there’s this whole word of brokers that I am learning. Oh my gosh yeah and it’s incredible how many pieces of your pie you have to give it away. It’s unbelievable.
[0:45:31.3] KM: We should go to a franchise seminar.
[0:45:33.6] PD: Well I think I would probably prefer to license some of my products and let other bakeries bake them and sell them in their stores.
[0:45:41.4] KM: What does that mean, license?
[0:45:42.3] PD: If I license it, I could give them the license to make my bread, train them how to make it, in a gluten-free bakery and sell them the flour mix so they don’t have the recipe because in my niche which gluten and soy and nut-free, the liability could be huge if somebody did it –
[0:46:03.7] KM: Cook it in a wrong environment.
[0:46:04.3] PD: Yeah or brought the wrong product in because we vet every single ingredient that we use, we have a big old book with letters from every manufacturer that there’s no nuts in their factory, there is no soy. So it is pretty complicated so to me, as long as there is a gluten-free bakery you know? And bread is the hard – I mean it costs me probably 60, $70,000 that year to create those recipes.
[0:46:28.4] KM: That is just hard to get your mind around.
[0:46:30.4] PD: I know and so if somebody wanted to do a gluten-free bakery, just by paying me a fee, they can learn the hardest parts and then the easy parts they can just do their own thing like cookies and stuff like that.
[0:46:42.5] KM: I love the cookies you brought me. I wish everybody could see all these Halloween cookies you brought me. You’ve got the cutest gluten-free Halloween cookies and they’re individually packaged. So you can give them away as gifts, what nice little gifts.
[0:46:52.3] PD: Yeah, we do beautiful Christmas ones too.
[0:46:53.7] KM: Those are cute. So employees and even the management are the backbone of most small businesses. So if you start licensing, how do you manage those, I guess you don’t worry about the employees?
[0:47:05.4] PD: You wouldn’t worry about it because all their doing is they’ve paid you a fee and it’s up to them to be successful or not to be successful and if I don’t know, I’m sure I have to say, “If you don’t buy X numbers of mixes from me a year” like the flour mix or whatever “then you couldn’t have my license anymore” so.
[0:47:22.5] KM: So of all the things you’ve done, what sticks out to be the most challenging over the last six years? I know finding recipes is one.
[0:47:29.0] PD: Well that’s actually not as hard – or I mean now that we’re really got it pretty good, we can do it. It use to take us 20 times to get something right now. It would take us maybe five because we really know what we are working with but I’d say the hardest thing right now really is packaging. Oh my gosh packaging is like a whole other world.
[0:47:45.8] KM: Time consuming, so time consuming.
[0:47:47.4] PD: Well and figuring it out. I mean when you start distributing, you’ve got to figure out the package, how it’s going to get in there, how much it weighs, what it’s going to cost, how –
[0:47:55.8] KM: Put the date.
[0:47:56.7] PD: The date well that’s –
[0:47:57.5] KM: Serial number?
[0:47:58.0] PD: Yeah and you’ve got to have a case and how many cases are in this and how many of that. and I’m not a numbers person. It is so overwhelming to me to sit down and we’re working on a project right now for a broker and we’ve got 11 things to price.
You got to figure out, I mean, it’s one thing to figure it out for retail but it’s another you got to break it down and then you also got to make sure you’re going to make a little bit of money and it’s a little bit of money because they’re buying it by the case.
[0:48:25.0] KM: Because they’re reselling it and reselling it. A broker is like the reseller that sells it to the…
[0:48:30.2] PD: To carver or wherever. They get a pop then carver gets a pop. I mean, it’s like my goodness.
[0:48:36.4] KM: I can’t believe that cookie is only three dollars.
[0:48:39.6] PD: Well, in the bakery, we’re getting all the profit but if I were selling that to Kroger, I might only get a dollar for it and by the time it gets to Kroger, it’s three or four dollars.
[0:48:49.3] KM: It’s very labor intense.
[0:48:51.7] PD: Well, it’s an industry that I don’t know that much about.
[0:48:54.2] KM: Dempsey Film Group had 30 employees, your current business has about five employees.
[0:48:59.3] PD: We have five full time employees and then we have three part time.
[0:49:04.3] KM: What do you think about the differences there?
[0:49:07.1] PD: Well, our part time people are wonderful, I wish we could have them all the time but we have a college girl and then another person, a real good friend of mine and they all have a vested interest in the – what we make. They have allergies. Their children have allergies, they’re not just there either for a part time job.
[0:49:25.3] KM: I think this is going to get bigger and bigger as environments get — I don’t know what’s happening to our environment.
[0:49:32.3] PD: Our immune systems are very compromised, you know, it’s like a perfect storm and if you think about how many people you know that have an autoimmune disease, reflux, arthritis, hives, gosh, there’s like 84 diseases directly related to gluten.
[0:49:48.0] KM: Really? 84.
[0:49:50.4] PD: At the bakery but yeah.
[0:49:51.7] KM: You are just a wealth of information. I love talking to you, do you have any last words for, not only people that want to get healthy but for budding entrepreneurs?
[0:50:00.8] PD: Well, I would have to say that you’ve pretty much hit on it, perseverance is, you’ve really got to have, now you know, I started my business and we were kind of sort of retired. We’ve used up all of our retirement money, hopefully the bakery will be as successful so we can re save our retirement money.
But when you’re young and you start a business, you know, you’ve got to be – make sure you can survive that five or nine years. Because you're not going to make much money unless you know, you do something and you know, you’re one of the, it’s like a movie star you know?
You’re either hot or you’re not hot. Exactly.
[0:50:34.7] KM: I think that’s a good advice for everybody that all small business people have ups and downs.
[0:50:40.1] PD: Yeah.
[0:50:40.1] KM: Yeah, Flag and Banner has almost been bankrupt two or three times and we just hung on by our fingernails, pulled through and then we’ll have a great year and I always forget to put money back and thank goodness for my book keeper because she holds my feet to the fire because entrepreneurs want to spend and develop and do. You’ve got to rein yourself in.
Your hours at your location on Cross street, what are your hours down there?
[0:51:02.4] PD: They’re Tuesday through Friday from 10 to five and then on Saturdays, we’re open from nine to three. Closed Sunday, Monday.
[0:51:09.2] KM: On Saturdays you don’t serve sandwiches do you?
[0:51:11.8] PD: We serve simple sandwiches like grilled cheeses and sometimes we’ll have some leftover turkey and we’ll make turkey sandwiches, we have pizzas.
[0:51:19.2] KM: Saturdays, the menu is a little whatever.
[0:51:20.9] PD: It’s more kid friendly than lunch friendly like.
[0:51:24.4] KM: You could come down there and pickup a pizza crust or anything. I’ve got chicken and dumpling recipe from down there that I’m going to make some chicken and dumplings. Well, I want to thank you for coming Paula Dempsey from Dempsey Bakery.
[0:51:34.3] PD: Thank you for inviting me.
[0:51:35.3] KM: Because you birthed two businesses. Congratulations.
[0:51:38.9] PD: I have this beautiful cigar here, my husband probably smoked or my son.
[0:51:44.3] KM: Maybe I should give you two. Thank you to Paula Dempsey from Dempsey Bakery in Downtown Little Rock, she’s on Cross street. I can’t remember who my guest is next week. Rick Saint Vincent. Actor and musician, yes, he’s also a good friend, he’ll be great to find and maybe we’ll get him to sing a little bit. To our listeners, thank you for spending time with me and Paula Dempsey from Dempsey Bakery.
If you think this program has been about you, you’re right but it’s also been about me. Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve learned or heard something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and then it, whatever it is will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I am Kerry McCoy, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:53:40.30] TB: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Want to hear today’s program again or want someone else to benefit from it? Jot this down. Within 48 hours the podcast will be available at flagandbanner.com. Click the tab labeled “Radio Show”, there you’ll find today’s segments with links to resources you heard discussed on this program. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.