At the beginning of 2017 I took over the operation of a pay-what-you-can vegan lunch café here in the heart of meat-and-potatoes Midwest America. On December first, I gave myself a daily blogging challenge to write about this café, to tell its story, and maybe figure out a little of my own story in the process. This is Post #27.
In previous posts I’ve touched on how this little enterprise got started and how I was able to take it over and keep it going with no capital and the smallest of startup budgets.
You can scroll back and read from the beginning if you like, but here’s a quick recap: the business I assumed had an existing customer base, not large, but loyal. The monthly operational costs were minimal. The equipment was in place, the kitchen already certified. I had all the tableware and linens I needed. The lease was a percent-of-gross with no deposits or up-front payments required.
All the cafe had to do was cover its own costs and our personal living expenses, which were — and are — low enough that I was fairly confident we could live on the small amount it was likely to generate in its first year.
It’s been a year now.
So how are we doing?
We’ve served nearly 4000 meals. We’ve built relationships with local farmers. We’ve had a couple articles written about us. We see new people every week, and our regulars keep coming back.
We hosted a Woody Guthrie Birthday Dinner in July and an Open House Party in October, both of which filled the dining room with people and music. We brought musicians together for a monthly Song Circle. We catered church events and meetings. We helped get an Organic Buying Club established in a little space right off the dining room.
And we earned enough to pay our household expenses each month.
Not bad for year one.
Challenges? Oh, yes. I’ll get to them tomorrow.
For today, let’s just let the good news have its moment.