Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Welcome to The Suds Club!

Happy new year, folks, and apologies for the long hiatus. We trust the holidays were memorable, and that everyone is off to great start for 2012! When not participating in a higher than normal volume of Christmas/New Year's festivities, we've been working furiously behind the scenes, working out cashflow projections, meeting with accountants and lawyers, and we are pleased to announce that we are ready to take a major next step in launching the Townhouse! 

We need to raise a modest amount of money to help us secure the perfect downtown location and meet our working capital requirements, and we'd like you to help us do it. The "next step" is to launch our CSR, or Community Supported Restaurant subscription program, which we've decided to call the "Suds Club." 

Background on CSRs

In recent years, for both practical and idealogical reasons, people have been seeking alternative ways to raise money to help launch various projects and small businesses. You've probably heard of Kickstarter, or KIVA? And you may remember an earlier post we did discussing CSRs as an option? And you probably know that our little community has played a major role in developing these sorts of things... Well, CSRs, basically a form of community based micro-financing, were inspired by CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs are a way for new farmers and other small scale local agriculture ventures get off the ground. A member or "subscriber" pays the farmer a lump sum at the beginning of the season, when he or she needs the money to buy seeds and supplies. In exchange, the "subscriber" gets weekly deliveries of the garden's bounty throughout the season. CSAs have become a very popular and successful business model throughout North America, and here in Nova Scotia. Check out Taproot Farms for an excellent, if larger than average scale example. there  are also at least 2 great CSAa right here in Antigonish, including Seabright Gardens run by my sister and her husband. CSRs have been used with tremendous success by restaurants in Vermont, and but as far as we know we could be the first CSR in Canada! 

How it works:

  You can think of it as prepaying for food you'll enjoy in the future at the Townhouse - or as a start-up loan to a community business that will be paid back in kind - or as being a member/creator of Nova Scotia's first Community Supported Restaurant, and Antigonish's first brewpub! 

  Each subscription costs $1000, and will paid back in 40 x  $25 gift certificates (redeemable for food only, unfortunately it's the law) over the next 4 years. You can use 1 certificate per month for any 10 months of the year, unused certificates expire. While researching this model we corresponded with Linda Ramsdell, the manager of Claire's Restaurant in Hardwick, who told us how pleased she was with the CSR model's success,

“We sold 50 subscriptions for $1000 each. Since most of those 50 represent couples or families sharing the subscription, we have over 100 people who are a part of Claire's in a most vital way. We have been very happy with the positive attention the model has received, and the literal buy in of so many of our customers. I would do it again. Raising money for a project is not something I enjoy, but this way of raising capital seemed innovative and exciting to people.”

Subscribing to The Townhouse CSR means you are participating in a very real way in the start up of a new community owned brewpub, PLUS you will be able to cash in your certificates for food, take guided tours of the nano-brewery where Townhouse Ales will be created, and be invited to the annual Townhouse Suds Club Party!

At this point we are asking you to fill out a form confirming your intent to purchase a CSR Subscription. This will help us to secure the rest of our financing and launch the Townhouse. You will only pay for your subscription once we have secured the building and the rest of our financing. In the unlikely event that we are unable to launch the Townhouse, we will sincerely thank you for your support, but you will owe us nothing. As part of the point of the CSA model, when buying a subscription you take on a share in the risk too. A CSA participant pays for their share of vegetables in the spring, when the farmer needs the money for seed and soil amendments, and shares in the risk of crop failure with the farmer. If, after we get up and running, the business fails we cannot pay you back. However, we've been poring over the numbers for months now, and we are confident that with your support, and our great quality fare, excellent service, and careful management, The Townhouse will be a resounding success!  

Join the Suds Club!

Okay, Townhouse supporters, we are ready for the next big step! We are asking for your help to make this venture a reality, and a booming success. If you would like to be able to sit down in your own cozy local pub after work, sipping a hand-crafted ale and sharing a simple and delicious meal with friends, consider signing up for a CSR subscription. The form below will be submitted to our private e-mail address, and we will contact you when we have reached our funding goal and are ready to proceed!

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions, we'll be happy to discuss the CSR model and our Suds Club with you. Thanks for your consideration and support!

1 comment:

  1. ‘’How sweet was restaurants, I’m thinking I’ll leave with my family again. And good food, service, atmosphere, definitely hope to go back in this restaurants. The rosaries were YUMMY! Food Near Me