After months of planning, baking and testing, perfecting the recipe for his own cream puffs, Brian Zoubek has finally opened Dream Puffz, his own cream puff shop in Haddonfield, N.J.
Zoubek, a Haddonfield native, opened Dream Puffz last Monday, July 30, amid fanfare that helped him sell over 1,200 on his first day.
"We sold out everyday in the first week," Zoubek said. "That's a good problem to have."
At Dream Puffz, Zoubek is no behind-the-scenes, keep-his-hands-clean type owner. Working alongside a chef he hired who went to culinary school nearby in Philadelphia, Zoubek displays a positional flexibility his 7-foot-1 frame never allowed on the basketball court, seamlessly moving from the kitchen, to the cash register, to schmoozing with customers.
To read our original piece on Zoubek and Dream Puffz, go to The Chronicle's main page.
The former Duke basketball star, who as a senior was an integral member of the 2010 national championship squad, Zoubek proudly displays memorabilia from his Blue Devil days in the shop. Featuring pictures from the 2010 team, his No. 55 jersey and even a chair from the 2010 Final Four, Duke fans are undoubtedly welcome in Dream Puffz.
But Zoubek does not forget his roots--as a native of the area, his No. 55 jersey from Haddonfield Memorial High School also hangs framed on the wall. Fans from both his Duke and his high school careers have come into the shop and voiced their support for him, Zoubek said.
Still, his dreams are larger than one shop on a quiet street in Haddonfield. Inspired by niche desert trends that caught on in New York City such as Baked by Melissa, Zoubek hopes to expand there where his business can really take off. In order to do so, he is looking to hire a manager who can help him deal with the Haddonfield location while he deals with expansion possibilities.
"I'm looking to get everything down--get the model down and get the catering down--and then hopefully go up to New York and see how it goes up there," Zoubek said. "That's the ultimate goal and I think I'm well on my way."
Zoubek has yet to have any of his former teammates as customers, but he will have the opportunity next week, he said, when Jon Scheyer and Steve Johnson are coming to visit him. Both were teammates on the 2010 national championship squad.
When they visit, they will get to choose from the six flavors of filling: very vanilla bean, luscious strawberry, pistachio, cookies and cream, banana and wafers and peanut butter. Additionally, Zoubek sells the shells either covered in chocolate or plain. The peanut butter, vanilla bean and cookies and cream have been the most popular so far, according to Zoubek.
But as a first-time business owner, the giant chef and entrepreneur has found that there is much more to being successful than making a tasty treat.
"You think you've solved the first 100 problems and then another 100 problems pop up," Zoubek said. "Everyday is solving problems and if you don't like that, don't be an entrepreneur."
One of those problems has been overcoming a cursed location, taking out a spot that has seen a high turnover of baker occupants.
"The place had a stigma in my town. There had been a couple of failed bakeries there. So we really had to come in an reimagine the space," Zoubek said. "But people have been really happy with it so far."
Check back later today to read The Chronicle's Daniel Carp review the experience at Dream Puffz.
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