Project Approved: Converting a Personal Garage Into a Commercial Kitchen

A big step forward towards Bizcochos’ growth

Bizcochos' Owner Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein with her approved floor plan for Bizcochos' commercial kitchen.
Photo: Kristina de Guzman

Since August 10th, Mexican organic bakery Bizcochos began its exciting project of constructing its own commercial kitchen out of Creator/Baker Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein’s home garage.

Being a businesswomen who happens to also be very family-oriented, Vivianna felt a pull towards being able to produce her baked goods right at home. Having a commercial kitchen would mean having more flexibility and personal time to spend with her family.

While the kitchen construction has only begun, it was a conversation that Vivianna had with her mother four years ago that planted the idea’s seed.

“[My mother] was like, ‘Well, you can try to have a kitchen legally in your home’ – and at that time, I said, ‘Yes, but it’s all this process – I’m not sure of my business and how well it’s gonna do,’” Vivianna remembers. “I just kept the idea in my mind.”

Bizcochos' Owner Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein's personal garage pre-construction.
Photo: Supplied by Bizcochos

Another hurdle was convincing her husband, Toni, who was not completely sold on the idea at first.

“[Toni] thought, ‘Well, this will maybe make the house less attractive if we want to sell it later on…because, who wants an extra kitchen in the house?’, Vivianna recalls. “But, just brainstorming and looking up the positive aspects, we realized that [a kitchen in the garage] is an added value to the house.

“In this area where we live [Hazeldean], there’s a lot of small businesses opening up, and also a lot of infill – newer homes and garage suites as well.”

From idea to action

The idea eventually turned into baby steps when, in March 2020, Vivianna sent a construction permit application to the City of Edmonton. She visited the City’s offices a couple of times and talked to two inspectors to learn of the requirements should she want a kitchen in her garage.

“I remember that there was a guy there that was very thorough in explaining how I could go around [the idea],” shares Vivianna, who had brought a basic floor plan of her garage to the meeting. “He just made things look way more simple than [what] I [had] thought. He kind of gave me an idea of the design.”

The approved garage floor plan by City of Edmonton for Bizcochos' commercial kitchen.
Photo: Kristina de Guzman

Vivianna had been worried that the City might be strict since her garage was located in a residential – rather than a commercial – zoning area. However, the inspector she had spoken with eased those fears by mentioning that he likely saw her project being approved.

“So that gave me the confidence to go through with the process,” says Vivianna.

The City of Edmonton inspectors also mentioned that Bizcochos’ commercial kitchen could have up to three customer visits per day, in addition to bakery production.

“And then [the inspectors] said, ‘We’ll just send letters to your neighbours to make sure they agree [to the project],’ Vivianna recollects. “I think [the City] even sent [letters] to the neighbours across the alley.

“So it really comes in handy if your neighbours are you friends,” she adds with a laugh. “Thankfully, I get along with all the neighbours. The fact that the neighbours are supporting [the project] makes it an even more fun process, because they’re looking forward to it.”

Bizcochos' owner Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein with windows for Bizcochos' new kitchen.
Photo: Kristina de Guzman

Benefits of owning a commercial kitchen

In terms of bettering Bizcochos as a business, Vivianna believes having a commercial kitchen right at home will help in increasing production without the burden of renting a commercial kitchen elsewhere.

“And you don’t have that time pressure, ‘cause it works per hour: your rent [for commercial kitchens],” Vivianna adds. “So [having a commercial kitchen at home] will allow me to, you know, produce two hundred pieces instead of eighty.

“My production per day [would be] larger,” she points out that that would help Bizcochos distribute its goods to more stores.

In addition, Vivianna foresees that Bizcochos’ baked goods will be of better quality.

“Because you’re always working with the same ovens [and] the same location, there’s a lot more consistency,” she explains, adding that vision is in contrast with the current situation of producing goods at different kitchens.

Ovens and other equipment for Bizcochos' new kitchen.
Photo: Kristina de Guzman

Bizcochos’ kitchen will take around two months to be built, with construction being expected to finish by early October 2021. Be sure to keep an eye out on our social media (Facebook and Instagram) for updates as the project progresses!

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