Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CYBF Meeting + New Location + It's Winter!

First things first - you know what I want to do when I see snow coming down outside, from gray skies?
Curl up somewhere like this :
With something like this :

Close your eyes, imagine the warmth of those stones, and say it with me now "Ahhhhhhhhh."

Now that you're a little more relaxed, let me tell you what's been going on in our world.

We met with two bankers last night, that work on behalf of the CYBF, determining if projects brought to them have economic viability, and help them decide if they should invest or not. Very nice gentlemen, both with worlds of experience. One is apparently involved in the "Dragons Den" show you might have seen on CBC (If you're in Canada). I don't know that he's one of the Dragons perse, but either way.

We reviewed the business plan, the financials, and talked, lots, about our plans. They were very enthusiastic, and loved our ideas.

Their only concern was with out start-up costs being high, which in turns leave our cash flow lower than they'd like for the first few months. We'd budgetted to have just over 3 months worth of operating capital on hand, assuming the worst that we make no profit until the 4th month.

They said they'd be more comfortable with that closer to 6-9 months.

The start-up costs of the location on Manning are close to $100K - this is very high, and while we were edging to the decision regardless, it means that location is now completely out of the running. The landlord wants us not only to pay 100% for the renos, he also wants a security deposit of 1 years worth of rent. Close to $50K. We just don't have that money, and even if we did I wouldn't want it sitting in an account while we struggle to make ends meet.

So from the meeting we took away a sense that we are on the right track, they told us they believe it will be profitable, and it's a great idea. They also agree we're going into this with open eyes, we know what we're doing and we're doing it well so far.

We need to redo our numbers, using the newer locations we've been looking at, to reduce our start-up and have a larger chunk of cash on hand for the operating, to cover 6 to 9 months.

Which brings me to my next point.

While we're waiting to find out if the financing is approved for the offer someone else has in on the lovely little yellow restaurant on College St, we've been looking elsewhere.

Our searching has led us to lovely Cabbagetown, Toronto. Have you heard of it?

Here's a little reading material if you'd like to know more about it.

There is a little restaurant that a woman is looking to sell, currently occupying a converted Victorian house, two floors with original moldings and charm intact. It includes a gas fireplace on the main floor, huge windows letting in tons of natural light, and a back patio. A real back patio, not a city-owned boulevard cafe kind of place. It's fantastic. We love it. And it puts our start-up costs below what we'd pay at the Manning location, already including kitchen equipment.
Part of the back patio. Isn't it adorable?

Lovely main floor, see the fireplace? Ahhhhhhh.

There would be cosmetic changes for sure, but our total construction budget would be something like $10K. You know, $90K less than the last location we looked at. Picture that space you see above these words not painted red, but pale green, with white and cream accents. Then imagine it full of people smiling and closing their eyes while they sip from a warm steaming cup, their shoulders relaxing as they take a sip, and then nibbling on an equally delicious snack.

That's what we're talking about.

So Sadie and I caged the place out on Monday night, went for dinner and poked around. We love it, but we need to see the kitchen. And maybe the upstairs without people crowded in every space. So Saturday we've got an appointment with the owner, to do a full walk through, and ask all the questions swirling around our pretty little heads. I can't wait, and even the thought of having to drive into Toronto in fresh snow isn't dampening my anticipation.

We've also been working on concocting our secret recipes, that will have you all swooning once we're up and running. This hot cocoa.... let me tell you, it's going to Blow.Your.Minds. But I've gone on long enough for one post, we'll tell you more about it next time.

In the meantime, drop us a note, tell us your thoughts so far! Suggestions? Comments? Awe and love? We'd love to hear it!




  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    I live in Cabbagetown and we'd LOVE to have you!! It really is an incredible street. You've got students, artists and big bucks all living in one community.

    And with recent additions like the ice cream shop and Gourmet Burger the foodies are taking notice.

    The BIA is strong and very helpful and you'd be welcomed with big open arms!

  2. Aww thanks!
    We are pretty dang excited about this space, and the area in general. Totally loving the commitement to the local scene, and are keeping all bodily appendages crossed, we want this to work!

    Also fantastic to hear about the BIA - we'll start harassing soon!


  3. Hi folks - I just read your comments about Cabbagetown (courtesy of Google Alert. If you decide to get involved here, we'd really be happy to help you.
    Doug Fisher, Cabbagetown BIA

  4. Doug,

    Thank you for the response, we hope this location works out so that we can meet with you and work with the people and businesses in the Cabbagetown BIA.