My Bestie Donna said it best
There’s still time to support this great project. Every dollar raised is one less dollar of lending needed to get the store up and …running. Fewer loans means a better chance of the business breaking even and providing a service that a small town desperately needs.
When I started this it seemed fairly clear to me – 1. Get the property. 2. Start a store.
Now before you shake your head, roll your eyes, and think “Oy.” Please know that I start simple and clear. Know your objectives. I loathe getting bogged down by details that may sink a project before it even begins. What is the point of that? Then… Learn as you go, make decisions as you go, consult, educate, and most of all Keep Moving.
So. I’ve taken workshops through SCORE. Been in touch with the SBA. and the WBDC (go look it up if you are interested. It’s pretty great). I’ve written out a business plan, done market research, a survey (which, I know, I know. But you gotta do it). I’ve spoken at the HCEDP, and spent HOURS with experts at Small Business organizations. I’ve learned about food deserts – and how in some places that’s a dirty phrase. You wanna talk about food and economics and health and small towns with me? I hope you have ALL. DAY. LONG. I research to a point that I no longer become an acceptable dinner party guest.
And through it all I didn’t care how much it was going to cost. (please don’t cringe! and please don’t think I’m rich. I’m not. Nor am I naïve or flighty). I didn’t spend time worrying about money, because I wanted to spend my time learning how to make it happen. I wanted to spend my time making sure I was on the right path. Talking to people. Making connections with other people who care deeply about food and community.
I figured we would get the money thing figured out. And if I had to support it all while people realized this was the real deal… Well. That’s what I would do. Because this is the right thing to do.
Wait a sec. Let’s talk about it like this: Have you ever been in love?
And maybe…. (sadly) had your heart broken?
And then you meet someone who says “I think you are wonderful. And I want to be with you.”
And you think “HAHA. Not falling for that.” Even though you crave it with everything you have?
Well, I believe there is an aspect of small towns that are still recovering from a broken heart. (And I’m not trying to say everyone is all melancholy or whatnot all the time. Nor do I want to over romanticize my grocery in the hearts of a town) BUT. If you’ve ever seen The Music Man (and if you haven’t – STOP READING THIS AND GO WATCH IT) you know the love, hope, fear of small towns.
And if that meant I had to shoulder all the loans and whatnot – then yes. That’s what I will do. (my mom just died a little reading that. Sorry Mom)
And I still feel that way. And it will be so much easier being supported with an additional $12,000. I’m in negotiations with the property owner. I hope it goes well. I would really like The Butter Churn in that location. But if it doesn’t work out – we find a different location. (and wait….) 🙂
I’m talking to a real estate gal I like a lot. And I’m working with some financial people. And I’m talking to the state of Illinois about various programs and financing and grants. And we’re calling farmers and…. We are moving forward.
I believe in The Butter Churn. And I believe in Woodhull. And I believe that food and economy and conversations and actions about all of those things are things we should all be talking about all the time.
I get asked “what if it fails?”
I’m so done with that question.
Here’s my question back: What if it Succeeds?