Traditionally, small, independent businesses would take out a bank loan or use high interest credit cards to finance expansions needed to survive. The result would be paying large fees to big banks usually headquartered out of state. The burden of all that debt is often why local businesses fail and why big chains survive. Crowdfunding has become a great resource for local businesses to raise money from small contributions from neighbors and community members who want to see our kind of business succeed. Less than a year old, we're still trying to make our business profitable so we can serve downtown Oakland and foster the arts for a long time to come. A stage would be a big help. But it doesn't just support us, we've already put on over 100 artists at the cafe and paid them for their art. We also employee 15 Oakland residents and do business with dozens of local vendors. A stage will help us bring in more people and sell more stuff which means supporting more musicians, performers, Oakland vendors and staff on into the future.