I'm really excited about this new store. It's easy to believe that we could just do the same thing in the East Village in the Upper West Side, but that's not true at all. Every neighborhood comes with its own personality. The East Village has a really cool downtown vibe, great evening crowd, and a lot of tourists. Simon and I suspect that we'll have a lot of people in the morning and during the day in the Upper West Side so that alone sets it apart. I'm not sure about all the other differences yet, but we'll find out when we get there.
To accommodate all of those differences, we get to produce a modified menu for the different stores. While we cater to the after dinner crew in our first store, we'll have something we've never done before - a morning crowd - at our new location. We'll have breakfast pastries!! That alone is super exciting! Our sales team is thrilled to learn that we're getting a new espresso machine for the new store, too. Starting next week, they're going off to Blue Bottle to train on an espresso machine and learn the Blue Bottle way of life.
Our new store is quite a bit more expensive than the first place. You would think that since we've already done this once before, we would have figured out a way to do it for less. Here's the thing, we cut enough corners the first time around that we got the work done for the budget we had (this is also why we never got an espresso machine downtown). Our new location is smaller, but our space didn't come with the same character as we have for our first store. Our Saint Marks Place store has these beautiful brick walls and the original wooden beams are exposed on our ceilings. The building is over 100 years old and you can feel all the history when you walk into the store. The new store came as a blank empty canvas and while it was amazing to not have to repair termite damage in the ceilings or discover collapsed brick walls behind the drywall, it also meant that we had to build in the character. We bought reclaimed wood for our ceilings. We brought in tiles from the first store. We looked for ways to add texture to the space while keeping it clean and ways to invoke the same feelings at the different locations. Also since the space used to be the lobby for the building and was recently converted into a storefront, we had some challenges with bringing in plumbing and heating/AC (this part alone accounts for 2 months of headaches!!). Each new space has its own quirks and trying to create consistency isn't cheap! Even though we didn't have to build out a kitchen, we somehow ended up spending more on it than we had for our entire first store. The last few elements are our display case and espresso machine. Deposits are down on both so we're halfway there, but we're raising the rest of the funds through Kickstarter.
We set up a Kickstarter to help raise money for all the last minute things at our store. We have the location, we're done with the majority of the build out, but we still need help. It was a hard decision to ask for additional funding through Kickstarter when we already have one store open. If we were going to do this, then we probably could have raised a lot more if we did this before our first store. We chose not to then, because we weren't sure how we felt asking for funding we didn't necessarily desperately need. Last time, we didn't pay ourselves for 6 months while we got the store off the ground, but we can't make those same sacrifices this time around because we have responsibilities to our employees and vendors. Now that we have actual employees, payroll, insurance, etc, and all these other constant running expenses while we're preparing to open, the way we value money is different. As we reach our crunch time, we're feeling the effects the wacky weather had in slowing down our holiday sales. We were fortunate enough to have beautiful weather the previous holiday seasons, but the holiday shopping season last year was a week shorter and the weather was much colder than we would have liked. We're reaching out to you because we need your help. We're 90% there, so we just need a little push to get us those last 10%.
I also feel better about being able to actually produce on our rewards. In the months before we opened our first store, we were still working on developing our packaging and shipping methods for it. We were unsure about the format of the classroom and it still took me several months to actually have my first class. Our menu wasn't fully done yet. There were so many variables up in the air that I would have been too nervous about putting up rewards on Kickstarter that we may not have been able to follow through on for several months. Now that we have a store that's been open for over a year, I'm very confident on our ability to deliver! I think our rewards are really reasonable in terms of price and value. We hope you can participate in helping us get our espresso machine and get this new store open!