An Itch for New Beginnings
Several years back I bought Tortoise & the Hare Cafe with hopes of turning it around.
Because the name was known in town I decided to keep it. But as time went on I realized the name didn't have as much drawing power as I anticipated, and people weren't coming to visit since they never knew there was an ownership change.
With limited means to spread the word, and an unimpressive atmosphere, it became my largest regret that I didn't start from scratch.
But alas, I was stuck pouring my resources into the business just to keep it afloat. There was no turning back as livelihoods were on the line. With the name and its stigma working against me, business stayed stagnant.
That's when I finally said enough is enough. Something needs to be done. I got the itch to do something wholly my own, representative of my family's roots. I needed a new concept from my heart that I could sink my teeth into, that would be unique to the community, and inspire people to come and experience southern charm.
Enter Community Crowdsourcing
Inspired, I approached Bristol Rising, the downtown crowdsourcing community, on whether they could provide me ideas for a fresh name, experience, and beginning.
These Bristol Rising members got right to work, brainstorming ideas for names, tag lines, menu items, decor, and more. Surveys and feedback were collected and data was hand delivered to me.
I sat down with the family and we choose some of our favorite ideas, and were even inspired to create new suggestions of our own. After some back and forth, we finally settled on a new concept. 457 Mason Jar. 457 because it's the street address on North Main, and Mason Jar because it's representative of my southern roots and influences. It reminds me so much of the relaxed good time atmospheres I've enjoyed in Carolina, where neighbors offered you company and savory tastes of the south.
My BBQ Nacho. Credit: Stacy McCarthy Photography
A Second Chance
This Kickstarter campaign represents a second chance for me to correct a regretful miscalculation. It's an opportunity to do this thing right, and I won't disappoint. With excellent food in tow, and a re-tooled menu that fits the brand, this is a true first-time introduction of my passions to the community, with a brand representative of the quality, experience, and honesty of my family and our generational recipes.
It's a difficult and expensive ordeal to rebrand a restaurant. Every dollar of your donation is appreciated and will be stretched to its fullest. There are many items that we would need to purchase. In order to stay somewhat reasonable with our ask, we tried to focus on the ones we can't live without, so we can make sure this thing's the success we know it will become. Here's some big ticket items that will be purchased if we reach our goal:
++ Logos & Design. The logo you see in this campaign is based off our input, but we didn't design it, a graphic artist did. We would like to compensate him for his fine job, knowing full well it might be spiffed up a bit before our full launch date.
++ Signage and Mounts. These items are the most expensive, but is a necessary initial purchase. We're looking to have two signs made that hang off a perpendicular metal mount extending off the building. Kind of like the image below. We're looking to get the signs created by one of our contacts to keep with a high value theme, but also to keep costs in check. This new signage will be able to catch drivers and pedestrians eyes with little effort, while fitting in with a boutique New England setting.
++ Dining Room Lighting. The current fluorescent lighting is more reminiscent of an office than a quaint dining room. Our customers hate it, and so do we. We're hoping we can rip out the fluorescent lighting and suspended ceiling, and install a brand new lighting system that would create an ambiance truly of southern origins.
++ Paints, Patchwork, and Decor. With a new brand, comes a new experience. We want to be able to bring this to life through use of colors and thematic decor that creates a crisp, clean, down home kinda feeling. Sorta like how grandma's house made you feel. But better.
++ Menus and Materials. We cook. We don't design graphics. We want to make sure our brand of southern hospitality is properly extended into everything you pick up and touch.
Make it Happen
We're truly thankful for any level of your support. If we reach our goal you'll have afforded us something we never had, a brand that defines who we are as a people, and an authentic southern experience we want to offer when you walk through those doors.
We're confident we'll deliver. And we thank you for considering giving this ol' guy a fresh start. That to us, is priceless.
1.) CREATE a Kickstarter account: You only have to give your email address.
2.) SIGN IN at Amazon.com - if you already have an account, you're all set. If not it only takes a moment.
3.) DONATE what you are comfortable giving. If you find yourself wanting to help but unable to donate please skip to the next step to help us spread the word. Your card will only be charged in the event we reach our goal.
4.) SHARE this with your friends, family, colleagues, and anyone walking the street. Let the world know you want 457 Mason Jar in town!
Lastly, we thank you all for your time, kind contributions, and for sharing our campaign. We're excited to give you a full lathering of southern hospitality at 457 Mason Jar in January 2014!
Risks and challenges
Time is our greatest challenge and one we're happy to meet. We're looking to raise the necessary funds during this campaign to institute all the changes in just a fews week time.
If we hit our goal on December 23rd, we're looking to take about 10-14 days to make it all happen in time for an early January 2014 relaunch. We've got our sign guys, decor people, family and volunteers on speed dial. It'll be one Extreme Makeover would be proud of.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)