Brian Zoubek isn’t going to stop making cream puffs.
He just no longer will do so professionally, after closing his shop Dream Puffz in Haddonfield, N.J. Saturday. But Dream Puffz may yet live on—the former Duke basketball center said he is in negotiations with two parties to sell the naming rights.
Zoubek, who is planning on taking his 7-foot-1 frame and talents to the real estate industry, expressed disappointment at the shop’s closing but was optimistic the store still has a future, even if it’s out of his hands.
“It’s too bad because I really thought they were pretty awesome,” Zoubek said. “Hopefully I can pass it along, so people don’t miss out on Dream Puffz too much.”
Zoubek announced the news on Facebook and Twitter Wednesday, adding that he wanted to make a quick decision to give his staff time to look for new jobs.
Zoubek opened the cream puff shop July 30, 2012, but decided to pursue a real estate venture when he was faced with deciding whether or not to renew the space’s lease.
Zoubek said he could not go into specifics about the real estate opportunity because it is still in the works, but said he has been doing real estate work on the side and chose to prioritize it going forward.
“I was enjoying the real estate more,” Zoubek said. “I thought it would probably be more lucrative once I ran the numbers and looked at the scalability.”
The real estate industry may be more lucrative and less luscious than the baking world, but he said both require many of the same entrepreneurial skills. Having worked on Dream Puffz without investors or partners, Zoubek said he was able to learn all aspects of what it takes to run a business, even if cream puffs were not as scalable as he would have liked.
“It was a 100-percent positive experience in the end,” Zoubek said. “I discovered more about myself and learned more about business and relationships in the last year than the first 24 years of my life.”
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Although Zoubek has a Duke degree and said he has not ruled out going to business school, though he has no immediate plans to do so, he said the year working on Dream Puffz was more valuable than a formal education.
“Being able to have that experience of starting your own thing and learning as you go is better than any schooling,” Zoubek said. “I got the experience of every single aspect of the business, which definitely was a little overwhelming, but at the same time it was more rewarding because I had to learn every single skill.”
Zoubek said he regularly stays in touch with former Duke teammate Jon Scheyer, who is currently playing basketball professionally in Spain. He has also been in touch with Kyle Singler because the former Blue Devil has also dabbled in real estate.
And Zoubek knows he will still end up baking cream puffs because he still has many friends who didn’t get to try one in the six-and-a-half months that Dream Puffz was open.
“In my spare time, all the time,” he said.