Help us launch Sweetgrass & Cinnamon Indigenous Art Gallery & Cafe!
The day we drove through Holyrood and saw a bakery for sale right on the harbour front was the day we began dreaming of our own cafe and art gallery. The location was absolutely perfect - and beautiful. Blue ocean for miles, the prettiest collection of beach rocks, sailboats in the harbour, and of course we couldn’t forget the whales.
For the past 30 years Burlington has been creating beautiful Indigenous art, using techniques passed down for generations that a few years ago nearly became extinct. As any artist knows all too well, receiving a fair price for a piece of artwork that took hours, days or even months to create, is a rare occurrence. As a result, many artists set aside their art and move on. We want to create a space where artists are given recognition and fair compensation for their work.
Sweetgrass and Cinnamon will function as a cafe serving hand-crafted espressos, a variety of fine teas, fresh baked goods - all baked in-house, soups, sandwiches, meals-to-go, local traditional fare as well as a selection of food infused with Indigenous ingredients.
An important component of our business will be to honour Indigenous artists by purchasing their art at a deserving price rather than the lowest possible price. As an artist I have experienced the frustration of working very hard on a piece only to receive less than minimum wage for my time and effort. My art, as well as art from other local and Indigenous artists from across North America, will be on display - complete with bios of each featured artist. Because every work of art is a part of someone's story. Most pieces will be for sale aside from a few pieces of rare or ancient artifacts.
A third component of our business has a goal to educate others of the amazing vivid cultures of the tribes of North America. We will do this by hosting workshops and exhibitions highlighting various cultures practices from various tribes across the land. We will bring in experts in areas such as basket making (cedar, spruce root, ash splint, sweetgrass), traditional food practices, and exhibition singing and dancing.
Our business plan is complete, along with projected financials from a chartered accountant. We have presented it to several funding agencies. All of them loved our plan but unfortunately, none of them were able to fund start up costs PLUS the purchase of the building. However, if we are able to raise another $20,000 we can purchase this building and move forward with our plans. Once we have acquired the property, there are two funding agencies willing to assist us with start-up costs, which include working capital, some minor renovations and landscaping, as well as a few extra pieces of equipment that were not included in the sale of the bakery. If we exceed our fundraising goal, the extra funds will be put towards those start up costs which will decrease the amount of our business start-up loan.
If this campaign is successful, we will have our grand opening June 2020. As with all Kickstarter campaigns, it's an 'all or nothing' deal. If we don't reach our goal at the end of these 30 days, no funds will be forwarded to us and no one will incur charges on their credit cards as transactions are not processed until the end of the campaign.
Finally, thank you for believing in us. Your support is encouraging and overwhelming!
Risks and challenges
We have laboured long and hard over our business plan and projected financials for the past 18 months, working and re-working the numbers and our strategies to make sure this business succeeds. We have consulted with marketing and business experts, with others in the food service industry as well as our provincial tourism and culture department. We are jumping into this venture with eyes wide open! We recognize there is a huge learning curve transitioning from exclusively online sales to a brick and mortar shop. The reality is that many cafes and bakeries fail - it's a tough business. We are determined to succeed. The location we have chosen is an area with high visibility, a large tourist population and very little competition. Over the winter months before we launch next spring, while renovations are in process, we will complete some formal training in business administration and food service management.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter