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$5,330 pledged of $50,000 goal
backers
By Aaron Martin-Colby
$5,330 pledged of $50,000 goal
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About this project

Livestream Q&A and discussion, and hopefully a party, during the final six hours of the campaign.

Visit the prototype website to see how awesome UMST will be. Also check out our Tumblr and Twitter feeds for fun stuff and a constant stream of latte art photos. Like us on Facebook... if you dare! A random Facebook fan will be chosen every day for a coupon for a free drink.

I want to build a cafe.

My goal is to build a cafe that stands out. I have grown tired of cafes that simply act as yet another building with an espresso machine in it. I want innovation. I want art. I want something that makes me choose one cafe over another. I want a cafe that I desire to visit.

That cafe will be Ultra Mega Super Turbo.

Rhode Island isn't lacking for cafes. Sadly, the vast majority of them are blah and a few are even outright bad. For someone who loves coffee, this is intolerable. Making a perfect espresso or coffee is not hard. Likewise, injecting some energy and excitement into the cafe itself is not hard.

Every element of a standard cafe should be pushed to the limit. Many cafes offer sugar and milk for your coffee. They should be offering sugar, milk, soy, vegetables, eleven herbs and spices, and whatever else anyone may want to put in their coffee.

Many cafes offer wifi. They should be offering wifi, LAN, and computers for those without. Many cafes offer a board for local events. They should be hosting and planning those events, drawing in and providing engagement for as many people as possible.

In essence, the cafe should be providing value and energy to the community every hour that its doors are open.

Ultra Mega Super Turbo will do all of those things and more. It may sound almost ridiculously cliché and grandiose, but I want to build the best cafe in the Northeast. I want to take the fanaticism for quality that defines the Third Wave and combine it with an explosion of color, music, and pop-culture. I want a cafe that engages and delights while delivering ever greater value to as many people as possible. Basically, I want to create a cafe that even a cynical, jaded, overly-critical snob would yearn to visit. That's right, I said yearn.

Ultra Mega Super Turbo will be constantly organizing things to better provide value to its customers. Movie nights, cosplay days, craft fairs: UMST will bustle with activity because I would have it no other way. The items below are only a sampling of the ideas I want to implement.

Every week, and perhaps multiple times per week, the cafe will close with a classic movie. After the last drinks are served, popcorn will be popped, a screen will roll down from the ceiling, and classic silent movies from Quo Vadis to City Lights will once again shine bright in front of an audience.

Being a stay-at-home parent can be very enjoyable sometimes... it can also sometimes be a nightmare. As an attempt to give these parents an hour of solace for a coffee as they run between grocery stores, kindergartens, and home, UMST will have a Children's Movie Hour on weekdays where the television will be turned over to kids to watch cartoons. Come in, plop your kids down, plop yourself down, and enjoy a coffee.

I like video games. Specifically, I like old video games. They're plentiful, they're cheap, and importantly, they're just plain fun. I have a huge collection of classic games that are just sitting, un-played, in a closet. I want to not only get people playing those games again, but also to grow the collection.

Cafes need art. Having a seasonal flavor for your lattes doesn't even come close to counting. The fact that so few cafes have wild and inventive house drinks is bizarre to me. Yes, I would imagine that the majority of customers would order the old stand-bys like coffee and cappuccinos, but that's not what matters. A cafe, just like any business, must justify its existence. It must prove every day why it is worthy of a customer's money.

Where the money will go.

Basically, I need the money for equipment and initial inventory. I've got some support from friends and family, so I have a net behind me, but it's just not enough.The $50,000 does not allow me to create my ideal cafe. My initial cafe will be smaller and simpler than it will eventually be because I will continue to pump profits into the business. This is a seed, and I plan on growing it into something amazing.

I'm able to do something like this for less than most because I am able to personally do much of the work. I am going to build my own furniture, cabinets, and counters, and will only have to hire an electrician and plumber. I will design the website, build the computers, train the baristas, and create all of the art.

Potential Locations.

This is up in the air, since I don't know what locations will exist if and when this campaign succeeds. The cafe will be in the Providence area and near route 95. I want to maximize easy access to the cafe while also not overlapping with other cafes in Providence that are already quite good. A great cafe is not just high quality, it also makes itself as accessible as possible. Sitting in some nook in the depths of a city is not an option.

I will not absolutely restrict myself to this map, though. A good location is a good location and I will snap it up if possible. Rest assured, UMST will be very accessible by car, bus, bicycle, and burro. It needs to be that way, otherwise Juan Valdez couldn't make his deliveries.

Rewards, rewards.

I'm not just here with my hand out. I'm selling a product. And I have worked hard to make sure that you are getting a great product if you have faith enough to sign on at this early stage. My team and I will work tirelessly to get these rewards to you and to ensure that UMST is a truly awesome place to come to relax, play games, and get the most amazing coffee and tea this side of... this side of... this side of something where coffee and tea is hypothetically perfect.

Stretch Goals

Goal #1 is to get the cafe open. Once it is active and money is flowing, everything is possible: world peace, pigs flying, Nickelback releasing something good. Everything. For money's earned past the initial goal, though, I have a few ideas.

The ultimate goal is to get multiple locations of UMST open in Southern New England and bring the cafe's philosophy of experimentation, innovation, and drive to as many places as possible. I want UMST to be big and beautiful. Because with multiple locations comes the ability to fund concerts and festivals, art shows on a grand scale, and everything else that is awesome. My dreams for UMST are anything but small.

Risks and challenges

As you can imagine, there are a number of risks and challenges with this project. I could fail entirely. Customers may never show up. I might woefully overestimate what can be done with $50,000.

The biggest probable set-back that I can imagine is being unable to find a suitable location for a long period of time. My choices in this scenario are either choosing a bad location or a good location with a bad building that requires a great deal of work and elbow grease.

That said, from your perspective, there is little risk. For one thing, I have very greasy elbows. For another thing, for the money that I'm asking, I can definitely get a cafe open, even if I am forced to make some concessions.

And even if I somehow fail, I will get my cafe open at some point in the future, and no matter when that is, your rewards and your mugs will be honored. Even if I have to open a cafe in a closet somewhere, you will get your drinks and your rewards.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A set of digital art wallpapers for your computer, iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android device. Access to backer-only information. Access to the soft opening period before the store is open to the public where you can buy drinks and play games without being bothered by the larger crowds.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    One drink, any drink, regardless of price, from the menu. Get inventive. If it fits in the cup, it’s fair game. Trying to commit suicide by espresso? You can get ten doppios in a cup.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    FIVE drinks of any sort from the menu. That’s only $2 per drink. You can’t beat that with a stick. Unless it’s a large stick. Then it’s possible.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    A digital copy of the UMST Coffee and Tea Cheat Sheet: an easy-to-use booklet of coffee and tea preparation knowledge. Also formatted for printing on index cards.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A signed art print of the art that will be featured in the cafe. You will have a selection of art pieces from which you can choose.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    A branded UMST mug that can be refilled with any drink for as many times as you can manage over a thirty day period. I’m serious. If you can manage to bang back twenty drinks per day, you can get twenty drinks per day.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    A second branded mug: one for you, one for a friend/lover/pet. Mugs can both be used by you, for a total of two months of drinks. One food item, any item.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Five food items and an original art piece of anything you want. You tell me what it is and I will create it in my own particular... Idiom, sir? Idiom!

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Access to a coffee and espresso making class in the cafe where you will learn all about coffee and its various modes of preparation. PLUS your name permanently on the website and on a plaque in the store as a founding funder.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    TEN food items and personal, one-on-one coffee and espresso training in the cafe. You’ll learn all of the equipment and learn how to best replicate everything at home.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Your two branded mugs will be emblazoned with limited edition art. One original framed art piece that will be hand-delivered by me if you are within 100 miles of Providence. While there, I will give you pointers on how to best use your current coffee and tea equipment, including tricks like how to “fake” cappuccinos and lattes.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A special, limited edition branded art-mug that’s worth one year of drinks. If you get a drink per day, that works out to less than $1.40 per drink. An original, hand painted art-mug. Access to an opening night party filled with games and caffeine. A permanent position of honor and prominence on the founding funder plaque and web page. A UMST t-shirt.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    I will work with you to spec out and purchase your own home espresso and coffee equipment. I will then come to your house, install the equipment, and teach you how to best use it. I will even hang your personalized, framed piece of art for you. Access to an opening night party filled with games and caffeine. A permanent position of honor and prominence on the founding funder plaque and web page. A UMST t-shirt.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    A special night of food, drinks, games, and classic movies at the cafe for you and your friends/lovers/family/pets/stuffed animal collection. We’ll kick everyone else out.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    A special night of drinks and food at whatever location you choose. I will pack up a barista, coffee-making supplies, an entire espresso machine and grinder, and a selection of baked goods and go to your house, a friend’s house, a wedding, a camp ground; I would go to the moon if it were feasible. Sadly, feasibility is limited to within 100 miles of Providence, RI, and the moon is, like, at least 150. An original UMST art t-shirt.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    I will host a dinner party in the cafe for you and your guests (Limit of 25-ish people). Everyone at the party will receive UMST gift baskets with coffee, coffee supplies, and chocolate. I will give everyone personal classes on coffee and espresso creation along with original art-mugs for each of you. You will get to create and name a custom drink that will be available on the menu. An original art t-shirt signed by me and my crew. Your founding funder status increases to level 3, where you will have a photo forever on the website, a place of honor in the cafe, and a +3 to your crit. If you didn’t get that last joke, don’t worry. It was... not good.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    You’re a maniac. Maniac. I sure know. You will get everything listed above including an incredibly limited art mug good for a year of drinks. You will be an ultimate founding funder with your name, a message, and a photo of your choosing hanging in the cafe and on the website forever. I will hand paint an entire mug and espresso cup set. I will build a custom pour-over coffee station for your home. If you decide to buy a set of coffee and espresso equipment set for your home, I will provide a full year of maintenance, advice, and help. A personalized, framed, anodized aluminum UMST badge with a thank-you message and my signature laser cut into the back. A hand-drawn art t-shirt. A second, printed t-shirt that you can feel safe washing and wearing. For the first year that the cafe is operational, you will always have priority. You will not wait in lines. Simply walk up to the barista with your special mug and order a drink. After your cafe dinner, I will let you beat me in Street Fighter and/or Mario Kart. If you want it to be a legitimate thrashing, choose Mario Kart. I’m terrible at it.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    A team of builders and I will work with you to design, build, and then appoint a full at-home cafe. Everything is included: the custom design, the build, the machines, and a year of maintenance. Once this is installed, you’ll never need to visit a cafe again. Hell, you may as well just put a sign out front and turn your dining room into one.

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Funding period

- (30 days)