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Cream Puff Biz Tougher Than Brian Zoubek Thought

The former Duke basketball star shutters his Haddonfield bakery six months after opening.

Brian Zoubek never experienced the sweet taste of success. At least not in the latest chapter of his young life.

The 24-year-old, 7-foot-1 former Duke NCAA basketball champion and Haddonfield Memorial High School standout opened a gourmet cream puff shop in late July with the fanfare of national media attention after a Haddonfield Patch article went viral.

But a plain sheet of white paper taped inside the front window of his Dream Puffz Creations bakery this week at 605 N. Haddon Ave. in Haddonfield spelled out an untimely epitaph.

"Unfortunately, we are now closed for the time being," the sign read. "Thank you for all your support and business..."

Late Tuesday evening, Zoubek said he made a decision to shut his business down on Saturday, after a bout of soul searching.

"I learned more in the last six months than I did in the first 24 years of my life," Zoubek said during a telephone interview. "Just one of those things, learned a lot but discovered it was not for me. It's not like it needed to close, it could have kept going. But I had to make a decision to commitment or move on to something I might enjoy more, or get more out of."

Zoubek's decision was so swift that several customers who had orders were urged to reach him by email to get refunds. He said all the customers had been reimbursed by Tuesday night. They can still reach him at z@dreampuffz.com.

He said the cream puff business turned out to be a little tougher than he thought.

"A couple of things that I thought might be able to happen, such as online shipping, I figured out you really can't do, at least not at the same quality and also in terms of wholesaling and the expansion of the product," he said.

Zoubek, part of an NCAA national championship team at Duke University in 2010, said he has begun to dabble in real-estate investing, which could be his next business venture. He said he was grateful for the support his business got in his home town and wanted to thank all of his customers.

"If you find out you're not doing what you want to do every day, then you make a change. Life's too short," said the 7-foot man.

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Kim February 20, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Do you mean "dabbling" in real estate, rather than "dappling"?
Lauren Burgoon February 20, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Sure did - thanks, it's fixed.
Herb Hess February 20, 2013 at 10:49 PM
I'm wondering why Brian did not sell his business. "It's not like it needed to close, it could have kept going. But I had to make a decision to commitment or move on to something I might enjoy more, or get more out of." A good lesson to learn at this age. Starting a business takes perseverance as well capital. His quote seems to indicate he did not run out of capital but the will to continue on and make this business a success. Given the excellent quality of the product, perhaps the next lesson to learn is how to find someone who will persevere and build on the foundation that has been laid.
C.V. February 23, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Honestly, using a Z in place of a S in "DreamPuffZ" was his fatal mistake. Also think it's pretty unprofessional that he just closes shop without notifying his customers who already had orders in. Way to burn your bridges dude.
Jeremiah Wright February 24, 2013 at 12:20 AM
"Honestly, using a Z in place of a S in "DreamPuffZ" was his fatal mistake. " You're kidding, right?
C.V. February 24, 2013 at 12:28 AM
no way. I loathe the use of Z in place of S. it just cheapens, well, anything. Makes me think of airbrushed t-shirts on the Wildwood boardwalk with things like "new jerZey" on them. ewww!

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