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Head or Heart: When Profit and Passion Collide

Dog Krazy’s Chris and Nancy Guinn find a way to meet in the middle of their in-store bakeries.

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I LOVE MAKING COOKIES and cakes for pets. It’s my absolute favorite part of running Dog Krazy. For the past four years, we have supplied all of our stores with the most beautiful baked goods. We added our first bakery in 2018, and have since opened bakeries in three more of our six locations. I love coming up with new designs that can’t be found anywhere else and seeing customer dogs pose with our creations on social media.

The Problem

HEART — NANCY: Chris pulled our numbers at the beginning of 2023 and reminded me that we were still not earning a decent profit on many of our bakery items. When I make cookies, I can produce 40 to 60 an hour, but even with months of training, some of our bakers are unable to do even half that amount. Continuing to make everything in-store just doesn’t work, both in terms of profitability and inventory.

The Decision

HEART — NANCY: When we ordered our cookies from wholesale bakeries, we made a terrific profit, so I did what I didn’t want to do: I started ordering from them again. But first, I went through our hundreds of bakery SKUs to figure out what we could not get wholesale — 24 SKUs remained. All were original or custom items, but ones we could produce in a cost-effective manner. I decided on a selection of wholesale cookies and Dog Krazy-made cookies and cakes to offer.

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The Results

HEART — NANCY: Our bakeries run much more smoothly now, and all of our locations are well stocked with baked items. In the end, Chris was right. Sometimes even when you love something, business has to come first.

HEAD — CHRIS: As much as I would love to revel in the victory of winning a debate with Nancy, because after 17 years I can probably count them on one hand, I’m sad because it involved one of her favorite parts of our business. However, not all is lost. We still make original and custom products in our bakeries, streamlined designs that are reproducible quickly and efficiently.

Here’s the thing, if I didn’t have to worry about paying the bills, then … nah, I would still care whether we’re turning a profit. After all, isn’t that why we have a business? Unless you’re a non-profit organization, the goal is to make a profit. Doing what you love is great. Doing what you love and making money at the same time is even better.

Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t work out that way. Could we have increased the profitability of all Dog Krazy-made bakery items by investing in automated machinery and such? Sure, but we’re not a bakery — we’re a store that sells bakery items along with many other pet supplies. At the end of the day, we can’t forget what our business is about, and that’s servicing our customers. That doesn’t mean products need to be made in-store. We just need to have them available for purchase. And I for one would much rather make a 40% profit than a 5% profit just because it was made by us.

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