Hey y'all! Dana here. Critical Grind Board Game Cafe has officially been open for 3 months. A lot has changed in that time. We have special events happening a few times a month, new customers find us every day, and we've made some customers have quickly turned into friends.
Full disclosure though, we're still struggling. As our regular customers may have noticed, I am at the cafe from open to close, 6 days a week. This isn't a complaint. I absolutely love it here and it's completely worth it. But we had to let our amazing staff go only a couple of weeks after opening when we realized that we were paying more per hour than we were actually making. Now, the cafe is making enough money to sustain itself regarding its rent, bills, groceries, etc, but I'm still not being paid as there is still debt to pay off and we are falling further and further behind. When we were in the midst of construction we started a GoFundMe to help with some of the unexpected costs. On top of our donor's generosity, Shaun and I maxed out credit cards and took out personal loans to make this dream a reality. We are doing our best to pay those back ourselves, but Critical Grind cannot pay us back and pay its own bills. We have, on a personal level, found ourselves in a hole that we are struggling to dig ourselves out of. The mortgage on our house is overdue, some credit cards are overdue, we've barely been grocery shopping, and our bank account is in the negatives. Shaun is still working his full-time job, then coming to the cafe a few nights a week. Our daughter has stopped taking TaeKwonDo because we can't afford it. We have sold personal belongings. We are searching for a roommate. We are considering selling our home. On top of the financial struggles, I have some personal health issues that I have upcoming appointments and tests for and Shaun will need to cover, or we will need to close the cafe for a few hours. And then there will be medical bills.
Anyone who knows us knows we are proud people. Shaun and I do not ask for help. We have each other's backs and will occasionally vent to our friends, but then we struggle in silence. We can't stay silent anymore. We just can't afford to. Game companies are always launching Kickstarters and BackerKits to raise money to put out new games. So, we're promoting our GoFundMe again to try to keep us going.
So, here I am, asking for help. What does your help look like?
Donate to our GoFundMe. This money will directly help us pay off some of the debt Critical Grind owes, which will in turn help us pay our own bills.
Buy things at the cafe. Coffee, Games, Rental Subscription, etc.
Have your friends buy things at the cafe.
Share our GoFundMe with people who can and would be willing to donate.
Tell everyone about the cafe. Share our page & events with people.
Interact with our socials and groups by leaving 'reactions' and comments to raise visibility for other users.
This isn't something we do lightly. I've been struggling with putting this out there for a few weeks now. I've been working 80+ hours a week and still I feel like I'm not doing enough. Maybe asking for help with make me feel like, I'm doing something else. I don't know. But I appreciate you all. Any of you who've made it this far, you're wonderful and I appreciate you.
FAQ: Why don't you just get a small business loan?
A: We've tried. Critical Grind Inc., as a company, has existed since 2018 but the pandemic stopped any income we were receiving. By not having income the banks won't give you loans. And even though we were doing something different by opening a cafe, we can't get a loan as a new business because we were already "established".
FAQ: What about grants?
A: Not only are grants not as easy to get as people think. We don't qualify. Shaun and I are 50/50 partners and that makes it impossible to receive grants due for Women-owned businesses, LGBTQIA-owned businesses, and Veteran-owned businesses.