Thursday Survey 8/29/16

Here is a good one for you. As I meet with more and more people and all I see is dollar signs…. What are your thoughts on a Go Fund Me page? I know my husband doesn’t like asking for money but if people want to donate, why not?

Should I start a Go Fund Me page? 

P.S. let’s pretend I am not a day late 😛

Cheers!

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I’ve Been Catfished!

Remember that time I posted a picture on the Which Craft Bottle Shop Intagram of the website I wanted to get; WhichCraftBottleShop.com???

website-ruse

It looked like someone already owned it and I could pay GoDaddy.com $70 to be the middle man and connect me with the owner for a possible sale. I saw the page, saw the price and thought “man what a bummer”.  Shortly after I posted the image on my Instagram I get the following e-mail:

Hello, Thank you for your inquiry in purchasing the domain, “Whichcraftbottleshop.com”. If you have received this email in error, please disregard. If directed by GODADDY.COM, please do not pay them to contact us, as you will incur additional fees upwards of $70 US Dollars.

If you are a private entity looking to purchase this domain, the domain is for sale for $850 US Dollars.

If you are a business looking to purchase this domain, the domain is available for $1,500 US Dollars. For a limited time for $2,000 US Dollars you can own the domains, “Whichcraftbottleshop.com and Whichcraftbottleshop.us”.

Acceptable methods of payment include Visa/MasterCard, Paypal, as well as cashiers checks.

Thank you again for your inquiry and thank you for working with Domain King, where if you got the Dough…main, you can be King!

A little sketchy since I did not remember entering my e-mail but I though, “hey, maybe I did”

I respond with a pretty formal and basic business e-mail:

Thank you so much for contacting me. I appreciate the offer but at this time, I am not ready to make that sort of financial commitment. I will most certainly let you know if I decide otherwise.

And then I get a response that has my name in it. Which I thought was super weird since I never used my name (little did I know if actually shows up as part of your contact info in gmail unless you change it). And it was signed with a very unique name that made me think of all those weird craigslist responses you get that just weird you out.

Carissa, please feel free to contact us at any point regarding purchasing these domains. I would suggest not waiting as we may get another offer and sell, at which point the domain can be unavailable for up to 10 years.

If you feel our price is not competitive, feel free to counter, however our data shows that these rates are in line with current root metrics.

We look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to ask us about special promotional options running through the end of the year.

Sincerely,

Richard Harde
Domain King
NA Sales Lead

My response:

Nope. 

Standard response for me when I feel like things are getting way too weird for me to continue conversing. And then it get’s real personal 😛

Carissa, our records indicate that you recently put dreadlocks in your hair, maybe this is causing you to question the quality of the deal you are being offered today…

We also see that you recently attended the wedding off Sally and Scott, if you can prove this, we can offer you a 1 time deal of giving you this domain for free, no strings attached! All you need to do is reply to this email with the special promo code of…”Scottisthegreatest” and the domain is yours.

Scott bought the website a while back and was just waiting for me to try to find it HAHAHAHA He even made the fake e-mail address for domain king and he actually changed the contact info so it doesn’t say his name (unlike mine I just found out). What a riot! I am pretty sure this is the best result from any catfish ever! 😀 He even got all the spam mail from web designers when setting it up so I don’t have to deal with that part haha

THANK YOU SO MUCH SCOTT AND SALLY!!!

Cheers!

Another LOI Update

Looks like we may have the final LOI today or tomorrow.  I was expecting my check yesterday in the mail but did not get anything. Hopefully I get it today and can get it in the bank to pay Rand by the end of the week to file LLC.

We are still going back and forth on the abatement really. It totals about $25,000 but I thought we were doing that plus $10,000 towards build out. Doesn’t seem like it anymore. So Mark and I are changing the wording on the liquor license aspect in case we still can not afford or find a C license.

Plugging away at it.

Cheers!

 

Letter of Intent Updates

I got Marks version of the LOI (at 5:45 am!!!!) and he had made many updates that I really like. Changed almost all of the things I wrote on a previous post and then some.  Mark did mention something about adding an allowance for build out. Like they would pay $5 per square foot in build out expense. I didn’t see that in the revision and let Mark know.

Also, after meeting with Rand I had some additional questions/ideas for the LOI.

  • In a lease agreement the condition of property being delivered to the tenant should be extremely detailed. Rand has been around the block and said builders will do the minimum and if we don’t get it in the agreement they can get away with it. So I need to include things like floor and doorway molding, primer and paint on the walls, paint on the ceiling if we are having the open ceiling plan, what condition the flooring is in and the size of doorways. They could give us the 30″ doorway to the back storage room instead of the 36″  and that could suck when moving kegs.
  • Even though this is just a LOI I want to add something in there about the amount of space they will provide. When looking at the blueprints for that building it looked like the smallest space was maybe 3000 square feet. I don’t want that much. I know that these are not all set in stone since it depends on where support beams fall but I suggested putting a range of 1900 to 2100 square feet. That way I won’t get stuck with more space I need that would lead to more rent expense.
  • The last thing I wanted to add was the contingenies. Again, I know it is not the lease but I didn’t think it was a bad idea to write that this is all subject to financing and licensure.

I sent these over to Mark. Let’s see how quickly they can turn it around. My check should arrive Monday to pay Rand the retainer.

Cheers!

LLC Lawyer

So I met with the LLC lawyer Wednesday evening because I wanted to get things rolling since I found out there was a place in Rochester with a very similar name.

He basically said that as long as our names are slightly different he believes the state board will grant me my LLC.  And since we are both starting up around the same time it would be very hard for either of us to go after the other for trying to use their established brand for our benefit. My lawyer said that once I get the LLC that should be enough to protect me from any of that. If we get really large and want to expand to a second shop or something then we should consider trademarking our name and logo but until then, just filing is enough protection. Also, the state database has been down for the past few days so I can not see if they have filed yet or not! It is killing me!

So to file:

  • I need to pay Rand a retainer of $3,500 :-O
  • I need to get this letter of intent finalized and over to Rand. I may have said this before but Rand would much prefer a lease agreement but he things he can make it work with a letter of intent.

Back to hounding Mark for the revised letter of intent 🙂

Cheers!

Thursday Survey 9/22/16

I have done a bit of planning and made some phone calls while here at my current job with Carrier. I live a cube life so people can basically hear everything you say at a normal voice level. I know I have said things about LLCs, liquor licenses, business plans and projected financial statements. I know the people around me can hear that. I do not know if my boss (in an office a few doors away) has heard any of this but the way corporate bull shit works I am sure she has, or someone has told her. So the question is:

When is the best time to tell my current job that I am working on my next job? 

I want to make sure I have everything set; financing, lease agreement, liquor license. And I also want to keep utilizing my down time here to plan the shop and not be scrutinized. But at the same time, I want to give them plenty of notice so I might be able to help train someone new (it takes about a month for someone new to be hired in this corporate bull shit 😛 ). And I don’t want to burn bridges because these are all possible customers!!

Cheers!

Letter of Intent

Got the letter!!  Super exciting!!!

I read through it and had some questions and some red flags but I let Mark do the real mark up (pun intended).

  • They offered a 10 year lease with 1 five year option to renew but we had discussed a 5 year lease with 2 five year options.
  • They offered 27.50 per square foot for rent but we want more like $22 since there are also taxes, insurance and maintenance (plowing, shoveling, exterior building upkeep) that is about $6 per square foot.
  • We also discussed the rent abatement and we want to make sure that is in there. Something like 4 months free, 4 months at half and then up to full at month 9.
  • There was something in there about us completing our build out 14 days after they make it available to us. :-O That is FAST!! Especially with tap lines to get in there.  So Mark is looking into that more.
  • There was a very vague statement that apparently means I can’t open another shop within 5 miles.  Mark wants to clarify that is unless I relocate.
  • Need to add something that states I can sell the business if I want to
  • Need to add something that states they will not accept another bottle shop in the plaza (which seems common sense for them because they should want variety but…. legal stuff)
  • There was also something in the letter that caught my eye that I am responsible for any HVAC unit servicing but that seems strange since it will probably be for the whole building and not just my store space.

So that sums up some of the key points and some of the changes needed. Mark is going to sent the revisions back to Kevin and see what happens.

Cheers!

Time to Get Moving

I reached back out to Anthony from One Stop Bottle Shop to see if he had the contact info for the person they bought their C license from a few years back.  He got back to me and said he would look into it. But He also gave me lots of more info on some of the past questions I had sent him (law school is apparently time consuming and hard… go figure haha).

A short while later I get another e-mail from him and get real excited thinking it is the C license contact…. it’s not… it is this:

which-craft-brews

Yep.  That is a place that plans on opening in Rochester this fall…. 😦

So I cried a little at my desk this morning…

Then I realized this is just another test.  I got this. I have already called my attorney to see if we can start the LLC process with a Letter of Intent instead of a lease agreement. I contacted Mark to see if we can get the exact address of the proposed T5 location since I know I need that for the LLC paperwork. I downloaded all of the trademark instruction for NY state (which of course require a legal name and address but I have them ready).

What I need to happen now

  • I need Rand (LLC lawyer) to get back to me!! We have been playing phone tag all day
  • Contact my personal investor to try and get some funds out soon to pay for the LLC and liquor license lawyers since I won’t be getting the bank financing soon enough
  • I need to open a business bank account
  • I need to find a C license and evaluate that options

Ok.  It’s go time!

Cheers!

The Rest of Last Friday

Ok. So we leave the meeting with Kevin and head over to the Elm Hill Town Center Plaza, the one with Azteca. There were 3 places available in that plaza (which concerned me to begin with) and we went to look at two of them.

We get there and there is this really creepy looking guy just hanging out smoking a cigarette.  I thought “oh man, I really hope that is not the guy we are meeting”… It was totally the guy we were meeting. Mind you, he is just the maintenance man there to open the door for us but I think they should pick a different guy for the job. He didn’t make eye contact and shifted weight abnormally and kinda lurked in the corner while we looked around the places. If I was meeting him by myself and he led me into the 1st place that was super dumpy and water damaged with the windows all covered up I would think I was about to get killed.

Anyway, the first space was about 1800 square feet and I could imagine the layout of the shop pretty easily (once we got through all the cobwebs) but there was very minimal storage and the tiny bathroom was disgusting just like the rest of the space. I understand they don’t remodel until they have a new tenant lined up but I think if they just did some little things they might get a tenant more easily.

The second space was about 3000 square feet and was an old movie galaxy or something like that with super cheesy carpet and wallpaper boarder. Storage and bathroom was great but the space was too big.  I think it would just look empty and lack luster if I had 3000 square feet.

It was really nice to physically see how big the spaces were.  Gave me some confirmation of the size I desire.

After saying goodbye to the sketchball and cobwebs we headed over to the Savvy Wine Cellar on Genesee Street near Walmart.  WOW!!!! SO BEAUTIFUL!! For the first 10 minutes we didn’t even speak besides to say how gorgeous the shop is.  All of the displays were custom made out of beautiful light wood. They had a sampling counter in the back that was just lovely and the floor, ceiling and walls were all pristine. The labels for each wine were so uniform and crisp and clean and perfect. I just kept thinking how sad it is that they are leaving. After they caught on to the fact that we were looking at the space and not the wine they explained that they are retiring in December and showed us around the back space and bathroom and kitchen.  It was a lovely space. About the right size but the set up would have been real difficult for the 5 door walk in cooler to fit in there and the tap lines right next to it. It was also in a very tricky spot to get to. Trying to turn left out of the plaza is either a nightmare or you drive all the way down through McDonald’s and around the back of Dunkin and out to a side street to catch a light back onto Genesee. So… nope.

Once we finished up at the 3rd location Joel, Mark and I went to Dunkin (since it was on the way out anyway) to discuss our morning.  We were all on the same page.  Let’s run with T5! If they are gonna help us out that much it would be crazy not to! And T5 is eager for us as well! Kevin called Mark three times while we were looking at other places! He really wanted to portray how interested they are!

Super excited to hear what Mark thinks of the Letter of Intent!

Cheers!

T5 Meeting

Joel and I met with the developer of Township 5, Kevin Langan, Friday morning to discuss the future plans of Which Craft Bottle Shop. The office for the construction is across from Costco on Hinsdale road.  It is a super sketchy looking house that has a driveway that wraps all the way around to be nice and hidden. We got there just before 9 am and I planned on getting out and doing my “power pose” for a minute or two so I could walk into the meeting confident and ready to rumble.  But before I could even get my car completely turned around (you know, in case of a quick exit) Kevin was there and ready to go in.

The 3 of us go inside this extremely oddly laid out house to a table in the dinning room/ sun room/ morning room/ spare room and sit down at a humble conference table. As Kevin is setting up his tablet and getting out some binders Joel and I noticed that the walls are covered in giant blueprints from the project.  It was fascinating!

Mark (realtor) joins us and we can immediately tell that Mark and Kevin have worked together in the past. There was a bit of joking around and jabs at each other and it really helped calm my nerves. Kevin asked me what we had planned. As I explained the premise, Joel added some things, Mark added some things and Kevin asked some real good questions. He seemed legitimately interested.  He explained what they had in mind.

  • A building  is about to break ground right near the Gertrude Hawk/Subway/Tuxedo Junction/Mitsula building where the gravel plat is now (not the spot by the movie theater that is going to be a Petco).

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0340.JPG

  • The only other tenant they have planned for that building so far is a upscale liquor store that will have an on site sommelier.
  • They were thinking of allotting about 2000 square feet for us right next to the liquor store in hopes that we could work with each other and off of each others business. We could even organize tastings with them.
  • The building will be ready for the liquor store by January and then the rest of the building will be completed after that (just in line with our March opening).

He then asked what we do for a living and we explained. At this point Mark made a point to explain how I have my shit together. It was a very nice compliment to hear him say I am nuts for having projected financial statements for different situations.

Then Kevin asked about the liquor license we intend to have… I told him we had decided on the “Tavern-Wine” license.  He was slightly familiar so asked if that meant we had to sell food. I went on to say yes, but it doesn’t have to be the focus and it could basically just be ravioli in a can with a microwave. He then made the very good point that anything we have for sale is going to be part of our brand. Even if we are not interested in the food we sell someone is going to come in and buy it and decide if they like our shop or not.  We don’t want to offer anything crappy because it is still going to be part of who we are. We talked through it and explained that we would be very open to suggestions on food. He explained that there would be a limitations in that department – we can’t have Mexican food (tacos) since there is a Mexican place in the plaza, we can’t have popcorn since the movie theater is there and so on. So we tabled that discussion for now.  He then went on to ask why we weren’t going after the C. I explained that NY does not grant them anymore and we would have to buy one off of a private owner for around $50 k and that is just a lot for us to spend right now. This is when it gets good!! He casually says that they could probably offer a rent abatement of some sort for around $25 k to help us with that cost! :-O

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? *do not flip out, do not react, do not show your cards*  My internal monologue. And I think I kept it together pretty well.

We discussed that a little further and how they could help us get that licence. Kevin said he wants us to be the best business we can be and if that means a C license then they will help us get that. It would also save them money in the build. If we get a tavern license that may require us having a public restroom and then they would have to build two bathrooms instead of one.  If we have a C we may not need a public restroom and that would save them thousands in building expenses. And he wouldn’t have to go through the process of asking all the other food serving tenants if they are ok with Which Craft serving food.

So a few more details later and a WHOLE LOT of jokes later between the 4 of us it came down to the end of the meeting and Kevin said they would have a letter of intent to us by Monday. 🙂   It’s not a binding contract. It is just a gentleman’s agreement to say we are interested in doing business with each other and here are some of the perimeters we discussed.

I have the letter, Mark is looking it over to add his edits, I will look over the original and Marks edits and maybe even send it on to my lawyer to see what he thinks.

Wow there was so much more that happened Friday (even more in this meeting) but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with a super long post. So until tomorrow!

Cheers!