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).
- 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!