Looking to expand their business with new equipment but coming up short on a down payment, the owners of Strange Coffee Company have turned to a crowdfunding website.
Before we get into crowdfunding, let’s talk about Strange Coffee.
Russell Chisholm, owner of the now closed Easy Chair Coffee Shop in Blacksburg, and Brian Babock have been roasting coffee on and off for years. They bought a small roaster when they first got started, but as their business grew, so did their need for a larger roaster.
Then, when Easy Chair closed, they found themselves without a place to roast.
They’re now in a relaunch phase. The plan is to lease a space to roast in New River and raise money for down payments on a larger roaster and shipments of coffee. Their coffee is source from small farmers in Central and South America.
But how do you come up with $25,000 in this economy? Forget the banks. Babock and Chisholm turned to crowdfunding.
They are using the website IndieGoGo.com to solicit donations from the public in exchange for incentives. For example, give $11 and get $11 in credit towards coffee. Or, at the high end of the giving spectrum, give $2,518 and get a trip to a coffee farm.
The website takes 4 percent of the money raised if the goal is met or 9 percent if the goal is not met. So far, Strange Coffee has raised nearly $6,000. Their campaign will be live for 47 more days.
“We’re not afraid to try new things for good or ill,” Babock said. “It’s a tough economy. No one is going to be able to write us a check for $25,000.”