The million dollar question – “When are you opening?”. It’s a question we wish we had a definitive answer to, but as new business owners we are constantly encountering obstacles that make this question hard to answer. I hope that this post will help answer some common questions and give everyone a sense of what needs to happen before the grand opening.
1. We are just three regular guys.
If you read an article in the news paper about a chain restaurant opening a new location, you can safely assume that you will be able to dine there in the upcoming months. For those who don’t know Nick, Greg and myself, it would be easy to assume that Butler Brew Works is the project of a much larger company or wealthy business owner. In reality, we are three regular guys who are all around the age of 30, working day jobs and taking a shot at the American dream. After purchasing our property in December of 2011, we have become hands on property developers. The gutting of the old pharmacy on the corner was done on our own with the help of many supporters, friends and family. Renovating this space is our labor of love, and we plan to put in as much of our own sweat as possible to get things done. Of course we aren’t capable of everything that needs done, and in scenarios where outside help is needed, we have been contacting many local contractors. Coordinating schedules with many of these busy contractors has affected our ability to move things along as quickly as we would like. We are learning that it’s not always up to us when things get done.
2. Small Bites
Another important aspect that affects our timeline, as I’m sure you can assume, is financing. The three of us have been sweating through our wallets just as much as our brows through this process. We have been very fortunate to also have several generous investors along the way. By bringing in our funding a little at a time, we have only been able to take small bites out of our project. While these sources of funding have already helped us to do so much, there is a lot ahead that will require additional funding. We are always cautious about sourcing this additional funding though. We pay close attention to our equity, debt, and overall budget. This approach is a double edged sword, as we have to pay for building maintenance and taxes while we wait for the next chunk of change to roll in.
We have more than doubled our original projections for total cost on this project. Don’t get me wrong, we know how to spend a dime wisely and efficiently, but we also know the importance of quality. We want to deliver the best experience to downtown Butler and we won’t compromise this commitment to save a dollar. As a fellow business owner put it “you get one shot to impress them.” This is something that has stuck in my head and I know that we have a responsibility to do this right.
3. What’s Ahead
The exciting part is looking at what is to come with Butler Brew Works. The three of us are overflowing with creativity and have been working together to come up with some great ideas for Butler’s brewery. Before demolishing The Hot Dog Shop and The Reiber Block Building, we were able to salvage a ton of great materials to add character to our building. It’s our own way of being “green” while paying tribute to the historic buildings that use to sit in our back yard. Working with our architect and his awesome colleagues, we have come up with a great floor design to accommodate our future customers. Just check out these renderings!
We do not plan to have the outdoor space ready at opening, but it is something that we are excited to work on in the future.
I hope that this post was informative and enjoyable. Make sure you are following us on some form of social media to stay up to date with the progress.