By Devlin Smith
As her chosen career as a public defender started to wear Sheila McCann down, she craved something healthy and positive to do with her life. From vivid early childhood memories of baking with her grandmother, the answer came: bread. Soon after, McCann started House of Bread, a San Luis Obispo, California, bread bakery in November 1996.
To create her dream business, McCann spent nine months researching the bakery industry, writing business plans and meeting with bankers and landlords. During that time, McCann had to prove to all the naysayers her idea would work, something she says her law background helped her with. "It really gave me the confidence, the credibility and the skills to negotiate my leases and [deal] with suppliers and financial institutions," she explains.
McCann now has three corporate and four franchise locations, and is expanding beyond Northern California. All this makes for a business that should see its sales rise to about $5 million in 2001.