As shared in our recent Facebook and Instagram posts, we face a severe financial crisis that may force the closure of our store—a place where we’ve invested our blood, sweat, time, money, and tears over the past two years.
For those interested, the original Facebook post is available at the end of this article, and our Fundrazer page can be accessed here.
Addressing questions that have arisen since sharing our struggles online, we’ve compiled the information into this blog post to provide clarity in one centralized space.
1. **If we reach our goal of 100k or manage to pay some debts, what changes will we implement to prevent a recurrence of this situation?**
This question resonated with us, and the answer involves several aspects:
– We’re collaborating with a local business organization for mentorship on better financial management and gaining additional tools for the future. They also offer business loans, a process we hope to expedite with funds raised through our Fundrazer.
– Despite learning valuable lessons in our recent struggles, implementing changes without sufficient capital is challenging. We’re actively restructuring our purchasing process to increase item margins while remaining competitive in our market.
– Additionally, we’re launching The Veganist Kitchen (details below).
2. **Can you explain the plan for opening a kitchen in the store?**
We’ve always wanted to offer food service, and with a kitchen now in the store (pending approval from Fraser Health Authority), we plan to expand our offerings to include hot foods like soup, warm salads, rice bowls, and made-to-order wraps and sandwiches. Anticipating a 30% revenue increase in the first 60 days, this expansion allows us to reach more customers and boost retail sales.
3. **Why is your Fundrazer goal set at 100k?**
Our current predicament arises from allocating all our revenue to loan payments, impeding repayments to vendors, product orders, and operational bills. This situation was precipitated by the necessity to secure loans during sluggish months due to inflation and a national economic slowdown, primarily for inventory purchase. Unlike some business models where inventory turnover is rapid, grocery retail involves items with slower movement, delaying the return of funds on certain items and affecting our cash flow.
As a relatively young business without an extensive track record, traditional lenders like banks and credit unions were hesitant to extend credit, particularly as we lack personal real estate for collateral. Consequently, we had no choice but to resort to private lenders, which, though appreciative of their support, came with higher payments and interest rates.
Furthermore, government grants, backed business loans, and other forms of support predominantly target medium to large enterprises with a history of 5+ years, BIPOC entrepreneurs, or women. While we celebrate the much-needed support for these groups, it is unfortunate that there is limited assistance for all minority groups or struggling businesses in general. Earlier this year, the Canadian government allocated 25 million dollars to economic development support for 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs; however, these programs are yet to be made public.
Our total debt amount between operational debt and financial debt is just over 100K; although we don’t expect to raise the full 100k, every donation contributes to tackling debts, guiding us on a more sustainable path forward and allowing time to collaborate with our local business organization. Your support, in any amount, is sincerely appreciated and helps us address these financial challenges effectively.
4. **Are you open to investors?**
Short answer, yes. We are more than open to discussing this with interested individuals in purchasing a small portion of the business or even a group of individuals. We recognize that community is what has helped us to get to this point and believe that community is what will help us move forward. If you or anyone you know is interested please email us at email@example.com.
With our hearts full of Gratitude,
Brian, Logan and The Veganist Team
Original Facebook Post: Pasted