STRETCH GOAL TIME! THANKS TO OUR AMAZING BACKERS, WE REACHED OUR FUNDING GOAL 2 WHOLE DAYS EARLY, SO WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED A STRETCH GOAL OF REACHING $100,000 BY FRIDAY! THIS MONEY WILL ALLOW US TO PAY FOR A WATER RECIRCULATION PUMP THAT THE CITY JUST TOLD US WE NEED AND FOR TWO STEEL STRUCTURAL BEAMS TO SUPPORT OUR HOODS SINCE WE DISCOVERED DURING CONSTRUCTION THAT THE ROOF OF THE MARKET CAN'T SUPPORT THEIR WEIGHT. NEVER A DULL MOMENT!
The Spotted Trotter is a boutique charcuterie in the heart of Atlanta, owned and operated by husband and wife team Kevin and Megan Ouzts.
As many of our most loyal customers, friends, and family know, every cent that has gone into building The Spotted Trotter either came out of our own pockets, or the SBA loan we secured in 2010. No wealthy investors, no seed money, no venture capitalists. Given the fact that all of our growth occurred during the Great Recession, growing this way has not been easy, and it's required years of careful chess moves to make sure we grew slowly enough to meet demand, while not outpacing cash flow.
For this next project -- opening up a second location and first restaurant in Inman Park's historic Krog Street Market -- we wanted to go the same route, opening up with the small profits from The Spotted Trotter that finally started showing up in year three, another small SBA loan, and an amazing loan from Invest Atlanta -- an organization that we would call our angel investors in every sense of the term.
But alas, between the SBA loan, Invest Atlanta loan, and the small influx of cash from The Spotted Trotter, we are still short of the money we need to open at Krog Street Market -- this, despite the fact that we have played hardball on every quote we have received, challenged our architects to value engineer every single corner of the design, and had a lot of "come to Jesus" meetings with ourselves about what is a "need" v. a "want" in this first restaurant. Have you ever tried to tell a chef opening up his first restaurant that what he "needs" is really just a "want"? I tell you that it is not easy and has been a full time job over the past year!
If you help fund this project, you will be helping to purchase vital equipment that we simply cannot do without and finalizing the build-out of the restaurant so that the chairs and tables don't collapse like toothpicks after the first 6 months! More importantly, you will be investing in a concept that has never been seen in the city -- full animal butchery and a restaurant that will put Atlanta on the map for true, Southern charcuterie -- a 2000 year-old art that has yet to be fully explored in the South, even admittedly by The Spotted Trotter itself, given our space and capital constraints as we've grown and tried simply to survive that crucial three-year mark as a new business. This second location and the restaurant, however, will be the two places that will allow Kevin Ouzts to fully bloom and hit his stride.
To this point, make no mistake -- a donation means you'll be investing in two real people, Megan and Kevin Ouzts -- which we hope, now that we've written it, isn't a turn-off. We have bet the farm, as it were, on ourselves and committed the last 4 years of our lives to opening The Spotted Trotter and creating a brand that would be strong enough in five years to allow for this -- the opening of Kevin's first restaurant. We've missed countless parties, holidays, trips, vacations, and had more sleepless nights than we'd care to admit since opening in June 2010. You might even be interested to know that neither of us has taken a single cent out of the business as of today to pay ourselves. In short, this has been a true labor of love, and we have re-invested in the business every step of the way instead of paying ourselves. As a result, today, we stand before you as employers of 12 wonderful and hard-working employees, to whom we just started offering healthcare in 2013, yet another milestone of which we are so proud. And while opening a restaurant is of course our dream, the fact that it will allow us to support the lives of countless other families in this industry is something we take very seriously. But, we need your help to get there. Please help push us over this last hump to ensure our dream becomes a reality! We promise you (and the city of Atlanta) won't regret it! We would like to Thank Andrew Golubock and Christian Satrazemis for the wonderful Video Footage and direction on this clip and Couleen LaGon for editing this project's video!
Risks and challenges
Opening a restaurant is perhaps one of the hardest things a person can do. We know that. However, the fact that we have shown that we can successfully open a food business by opening The Spotted Trotter in June 2010 shows that we know how to overcome challenges and make smart decisions.
Through our SBA loan and Invest Atlanta loan, this project is fully funded as long as we obtain these funds through our Kickstarter campaign. We have small contingencies built-in for construction over-runs, we have been sourcing used equipment for months now, and we have already cleared numerous hurdles that can often hold an opening up. For example, we are already halfway through our liquor license application process, we just got our green light permit to start construction last week, and we have already worked with our two loan sources to delay our initial payments through September 2014 because of the initial delays in the project. So, there's no need to worry that mid-way through the build-out, we'll be cash strapped trying to start paying our loans. We've already planned for all of that and worked with our loan partners to ensure our first payments begin only after the restaurant opens.
While we hesitate to say that we've thought of everything, we've worked really hard in this past year to make sure we are setting ourselves up for success. Unfortunately, the one thing we weren't able to do is just raise this last bit of money through our loans. We know that with the continued support of our friends, family, and loyal customers, the reality of opening our first restaurant is within our reach!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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