Bona Sera Cafe to open next week in downtown Ypsilanti

Having more than met the goals of their $10,000 Kickstarter campaign, word is that the Bona Sera Cafe, the brick and mortar Ypsi offshoot of the successful Bona Sera Supper Club, will be open for business as early as next week, on the ground floor of the historic Kresge building, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and North Washington Street.

While a good number of their donations thus far, via Kickstarter, have been relatively small, I think it’s interesting to note that several people have donated considerable amounts. Here’s the breakdown thus far… 11 at the $5 level, 19 at $25, 7 at $50, 11 at $100, 13 at $150, 3 at $500, and 3 at $1,000 or more. While I imagine that some of those larger donations are from well-off board members of non-profits that have personally benefitted from the chartable activities of the Bona Sera Supper Club, I think it’s still an encouraging sign for entrepreneurs looking for seed capital to open businesses in Ypsilanti. At least, if I were a food entrepreneur thinking of opening a business in town, I’d take note.

If this project sounds familiar, you may recall that I interviewed the women behind Bona Sera a few months ago, on the occasion of their being awarded a $1,000 grant from the A2Awesome Foundation to get the Cafe project off the ground.

And, here, if you haven’t seen it, is their Kickstarter video… If you’d like to contribute, you still have a day or so to do it. Just click here.

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  1. Edward
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Will they continue to hide their identities as they cook, take orders, etc?

  2. anonymous
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I just noticed that their mascot has had most of his flesh removed. He looks happy in spite of it. Given that he’s got a knife between his teeth, are we to assume that he did it to himself?

  3. ichthyopsychologist
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    It’s called apotemnophilia, and it’s tragic. Fortunately, it’s quite rare, given that they have no hands, and limited access to cutlery, but occasionally fish do filet themselves.

  4. stupid hick
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Is it just me, or does anyone else sense that recently kickstarter is being co-opted by would-be entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business ideas? The Beet Box food cart in Ann Arbor did the same.

    It used to be that a business person would seek investors, not donations under the guise of supporting a creative project. I’m aware of Bona Sera’s charitable work, and I don’t doubt they are good people who contribute to the community, but is this not simply a business venture that should be seeking investors rather than donations?

  5. Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to Bona Sera!

    Getting gifts to fund a business idea is not new or uncommon — it’s the online part, putting the conversation in the public sphere — that is different. Most business owners do not rely on crowdfunding to fully fund their ventures, they seek investors as you would expect. Crowdfunding is therefore typically used for seed capital.

  6. Lynne
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I love the idea of small businesses using things like kickstarter to get going. For too long we have had an economy where things like investment capital are controlled by just a few people. The more we can support small little start ups, the more of them there will be and those kinds of businesses create jobs just as well as larger corporations. Instead of sitting back and waiting for some politician to save us, we should start investing in ourselves.

    That is how I see it when I donate money to kickstarter, an investment in myself and my community. And while I think beets are disgusting, I am sure there are others who like them so even though I will never personally go to the beet box cart (especially since it is so unfortunately located next to the delicious grilled cheese sandwich cart), it is still an asset to our community. Bona Sera is likely going to be a jewel in the crown of downtown Ypsilanti which is kind of starting to be a destination for me more than it has been in past. Dang, I’ll kickstart someone just for the window shopping!

  7. Mr. X
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Banks aren’t lending the way the used to, and restaurants are risky ventures, not always well suited to investors. Most people depend on friends and families to get such establishments off the ground. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option. Fortunately, Kickstarter, and other platforms like it, have come along to fill the void. As long as people know what they’re getting into, I don’t see the problem. The people giving their money are doing so willingly, because they believe in the project. If that’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. And we benefit by having a new business in our downtown, employing people, paying taxes, and breathing life back into one of our previously boarded-up buildings. There’s no down side to this.

  8. james
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s fine for them to use Kickstarter this way. (I also just kicked in $25.)

    It would be different if they lied on the page, but they are straightforward that they are going to use the money to open a business. I live in Ypsi, so having another cool place to go downtown is worth at least that much to me. I might have given more if they hadn’t already made their goal. I look forward to giving them more of my money in exchange for salted caramel gelato.

  9. mark k
    Posted July 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    “Instead of sitting back and waiting for some politician to save us, we should start investing in ourselves.”
    You must be watching Fox news, thats a Republican idea. I see there may be hope for some of you.

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