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Street food and a fresh change to the same old is coming! The Haru Aki Cafe brings modern fusion Japanese fun to downtown Storrs Center
Street food and a fresh change to the same old is coming! The Haru Aki Cafe brings modern fusion Japanese fun to downtown Storrs Center
127 backers pledged $9,860 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$9,860

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You know how everybody seems to be posting instagram photos of food on their Facebook these days? We swear we've been doing it since 2006! It started with photos of dining out, then it started to turn into photos of food we would create at home. People would always ask, "When are you guys opening up a restaurant?!" and nowadays we finally have a response!

Gyu-Don!
Gyu-Don!

Jess was a cytogeneticist at a major hospital in Boston and Ron was an account manager for a well-known chocolate company but a seemingly innocent e-mail on a whim changed everything a year ago. After we graduated from the University of Connecticut, the campus underwent a massive downtown revitalization: The downtown Storrs Center project.

This was one of those moments where we thought, "When I was at school here... I wished there was..." And the answer came easy to us: A fusion street food Asian place made with authentic and quality ingredients. Japanese grill gyu-don made with organic shoyu soy, not cheap generic brands. Or bubble tea made with real juice and real loose-leaf fresh brewed tea... not powder, hot water, and corn syrup. Thus, the Haru Aki Cafe was born.

Fresh Brewed Loose Leaf Tea
Fresh Brewed Loose Leaf Tea

So what does Haru Aki exactly mean and how did we come up with the logo? Haru is Japanese for Spring and Aki is Japanese for Autumn. Both these seasons represent transition and change in unique ways and we believe our menu will provide a nice balance for customers to experience the changing seasons through taste. Our logo was created by Jess to capture the essence of balancing the seasons with a vibrant and playful touch.

Our custom wood-frame iPad POS!
Our custom wood-frame iPad POS!

So how far along are we? Well, after a year of planning, negotiating, finding contractors, distributors, vendors, licensing, and the whole nine yards (plus another fifty yards that blindsided us), we are finally in the home stretch! Construction is well under way and we hope to be open in less than 2 months!

Blueprint
Blueprint

So why are we raising money if we're so close to opening? With unexpected expenses popping up left and right, our budget grew thinner and thinner until it got to a point where it exceeded our capacity. Since then, we've found ways to move forward by both cutting many elements we wanted to have initially and by raising capital privately. However, there are certain things we will not cut because it compromises our cultural integrity. In addition to community engagement, your generous contributions will go towards the following:

Authentic design elements such as custom Noren banners - Designed from scratch by Jessica, Traditionally hand dyed and fabricated in Kyoto, Japan.

Noren Conceptual
Noren Conceptual
Noren Handcrafted 1
Noren Handcrafted 1
Noren Handcrafted 2
Noren Handcrafted 2

Materials for our monthly workshops. As part of our cafe's mission statement, we want to engage with the local community as leaders in cultural education. Specific workshops will range from dumpling making (the history of), mochi tasting, the origins and art of calligraphy, and anime screenings just to name a few.

Calligraphy Brushes
Calligraphy Brushes

Initial start-up costs for high quality ingredients and materials to work with. Details matter and we'd rather not take shortcuts if we can avoid them. We just need a "kick start" boost to get our engines going strong right off the bat!

High Quality Cutlery and Ingredients
High Quality Cutlery and Ingredients

Haru Aki Cafe is coming to town soon and we hope you will join us in the beginning! Help spread the word and thank you for all your time and support!

Risks and challenges

A restaurant is no joke and even though all we wanted to do was create a place to share our culinary creations, we learned pretty quickly that things will NEVER get done on time and NEVER within budget. However, we are now in the final stretch and despite all our setbacks, we're dedicated to seeing this through! We initially wanted to launch this campaign in April thinking we would be ready in August but we weren't sure and did not want to promise something we could not deliver. However, as I stand in our unit today... we are proud to say we will finally be open!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    A special shout-out on our Facebook page and website. You will be enshrined forever as one of our first supporters!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    In addition to the shout-out and enshrinement, an exclusive sticker and hand written thank you note.

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    16 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Enshrinement, awesome sticker, and a hand written note including a personalized hand drawn character by our lovely co-founder and artist. Also, food! One free drink and one free appetizer voucher.

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    45 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Enshrinement, sticker, hand-drawing, food, drink and a t-shirt! You will receive our EXCLUSIVE staff only Haru Aki American Apparel v-neck t-shirt. The only time we will offer this shirt will be through this campaign or if we hire you one day!

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    20 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The next tier of support! We will feature you as a silver premier supporter on our website. 10 stickers along with an exclusive t-shirt and note! Also, a tasting menu package that includes 3 appetizer, 3 grill/or sushi and 4 drink vouchers. (10 unique ones that don't have to all be used at once)

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    17 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Silver premier support recognition, 10 stickers, 4 t-shirts, note. Exclusive invite for you and 3 others PRE-opening in October to sample a full tasting menu before the public! Yes, you can instagram the food and space to make your friends jealous!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    GOLD Level Recognition, stickers, t-shirts, note. In addition to 4 tickets for an exclusive pre-opening tasting, you will also receive 4 priority tickets to one of our monthly cultural workshops (starting in 2014). Plus, receive 4 VIP tickets to our grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony in November.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    We will close down our cafe to the public for two hours (not valid on Fri/Sat) so you and 20 guests can have an exclusive, order whatever you want, however much you want, anything on the menu (and maybe more depending on chef's whim).

    Gold level recognition for you and silver recognition for all your guests, VIP tickets to the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony in November, and stickers/shirts for all your guests. (There's nothing wrong with organizing a bunch of friends together to split this great package!)

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Funding period

- (30 days)