Can we please stop complaining about the Blimpy Burger crowd funding campaign?

    Blimpy2a

    Apparently I have a lot of friends up in arms this evening over the fact that Rich and Chris Magner, the owners of Ann Arbor’s iconic Blimpy Burger, have launched a crowd funding campaign in hopes of raising the money needed to reopen their restaurant in a new location. (As most of you probably know, the property upon which Blimpy Burger has stood since 1953, on Ann Arbor’s South Division Street, was recently sold to the University of Michigan by the widow of the restaurant’s original owner.) It would seem these friends of mine are of the opinion that, since Rich and Chris have owned the restaurant for the past 20-some years, they should just borrow money from a bank to relaunch the restaurant, and leave us, the general public, to invest in new and riskier enterprises. And I can see how one might come to that conclusion. After all, Blimpy Burger has an incredibly loyal clientele, as evidenced by the lines winding around the block during the months running up to this summer’s demolition, and, one would assume, the owners, even if they’d just been breaking even before, must have been doing quite well toward the end, thanks to all of the publicity. None of that, however, in my opinion, should keep them from exploring crowd funding.

    First off, it’s not just about money. Moving a restaurant, even a successful one, is a risky endeavor. People may follow you, and they may not. And, this, I assume, is doubly true when a business is leaving an iconic location. I’m sure the Magners will attempt to preserve what they can from the original restaurant, but, no matter how much they try, it just won’t be the same. And they know that. Even with the old counter, signage and grill, they’re still going to lose a certain number of customers who were motivated primarily by the nostalgia, which hung like grease from the walls of their old space. And, as that’s the case, I think they’d be foolish not to engage people by way of a fundraising campaign like this. Sure, the money is nice, but it’s more important, I think, that they’re actively engaging their customer base and making them feel as though they’re part of “the next 60 years” in the Blimpy Burger’s history. To be successful, they need their long-time fans to buy in, and this is a way of doing that.

    blimpy1aSecond, to my friends who are asking why they don’t just “get a bank loan,” the answer is simple. They are going to get a bank loan. They’re only attempting to raise $60,000 by way of this campaign, whereas the entire project, according to the owners, will likely cost in excess of $300,000. So this isn’t like they’re the owners of an NFL franchise demanding that taxpayers fund the construction of a new stadium. They’re just looking to raise enough so that they can secure a bank loan.

    And, third, and most importantly, what they’re asking from people isn’t outrageous. While they’ve set the upper limit for contributions at $10,000, they also have a $2 level, and about a dozen other levels of participation in between. And, more importantly, they’re very clear as to what one gets at each level of participation. (For $10,000, you and a friend get a free burger every week for life, a piece of the original restaurant, and the promise of never having to wait in line again.) Of all of them, I’m most partial to the $10 level (outlined to the right), which gets you a $10 gift card for the new Blimpy Burger. In that instance you’re essentially just fronting them the money over the winter, while they’re securing a bank loan and working on their new building. And I don’t see how anyone could have a problem with that.

    One last thing… I know this may come as a shock, but I’ve never eaten at Blimpy Burger. What’s more, I’ve never met either Rich or Chris Magner. So, who knows, they could have the funds on hand to do the whole thing themselves, and they may just want, as some are suggesting, to see if they can get the community to pay a big chunk of it. I suspect, however, that’s not the case. In all likelihood, they’ve been scraping by for years and this recent turn of events has been incredibly difficult for them, even with the uptick in business they experienced this past summer, once it became known that the beloved restaurant’s demolition was eminent. So, yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with them giving people the opportunity, should they want to take advantage of it, to play a role in the relaunch. As long as they’re up-front and honest about it, I really don’t see a damn thing wrong with it. And, with that in mind, I’m chipping in $10… Click here if you’d like to join me.

    And, remember, any space occupied by Blimpy Burger is a space that cannot be occupied by a Starbucks, Five Guys, or CVS. And that, I think, is awesome.

    This entry was posted in Ann Arbor, entrepreneurism, Food, History, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      58 Comments

      1. Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        While I was working on this post, two comments about this very subject were left on another thread. Here they are.

        Tommy:

        In other news, Rich Magner wants ‘you’ to fund the revival of Blimpy Burger. At least you might get a burger or two if you give him your money. Don’t be a sucka’.

        Go to the fucking bank and get a loan dude. If you haven’t made enough money to do so after running an iconic business in A2 for the last 20+ years, then go away and stop asking for a handout.

        Peter:

        I never really liked Blimpy Burger.

        Why would they be asking for handouts from the community?

        Oh, I think I know why.

        They are easier not to pay back.

      2. Taco Farts
        Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think I’ll stop complaining, but I’ll respect your sentiment and not detail my complaint in twelve paragraphs as I was tempted to. Fwiw, I definitely agree with the principal principle: if you can get other people to pay for anything, why not?

      3. Mark Lee
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

        I’m curious to see who will raise more money via crowd funding for their medical cost – your friend or your friends dog? Looking forward to that post. Thanks.

      4. anonymous
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

        Please make your case, Mr. Farts.

      5. Posted December 17, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        For those of you who didn’t catch the reference, Mark Lee is referring to the fact that my friend Lisa Waud, the founder of Pot & Box, is currently attempting to raise money online for her dog’s cancer treatment. I believe she’s trying to raise $7,000. The other friend he references, I’m pretty sure, is Patrick Elkins, who I helped earlier this fall with his online attempt to pay off his medical debt. Patrick raised about $5,000, all of which went to his creditors. (He’s now no longer in danger of bankruptcy, by the way.)

      6. Anonymatt
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        I don’t care about Blimpy Burger, but I’m willing to kick in $5 to fund a movie called “Please Make Your Case, Mr. Farts”

      7. tommy
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Helping a friend pay his medical bills – righteous

        Helping a friend pay for her dog’s medical bills – not so much

        Helping a guy who has seemingly run a very successful business for over 20 years and – at least on the surface – can’t get enough money from a bank to cover his costs to start back up and will offer up a burger or two a week for a $10,000 ‘investment’ as opposed to an equity share of his restaurant – sucker’s bet

      8. Albert
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        A bit of background before my comment:
        1. I’m generally a bit raw on crowd funding because, “I have a worthless idea that I’ve tricked myself into thinking is brilliant. I’ll put it on kickstrtr and guilt my friends into …”
        2. I only ate at Blimpy once or twice in 13 years of living basically next door.

        I’m totally fine with Blimpy Crowdfunding. Of all the annoying uses of crowd funding, A New Blimpy Burger isn’t one of them.

        Let’s be honest, that’s what bad crowdfunding projects are – annoying. They’re not wrong, or immoral, or cheating or hurting anyone in any way… they’re just annoying. They’re annoying because you’re a little jealous when you see someone with a shit idea, or perhaps an idea kind of similar to something you thought of once but didn’t actually do because you’re too lazy to sketch it on a napkin and post it to the internet.

        Here’s what probably happened: The Blimpy guys were chatting at the pub with some friends and said, “it’s going to be tough to get the scratch together,” and one of their friends said, “Dude, people fucking love you, why don’t you kickstarter!” and then one of their snotty friends who reads Arstechnica was all, “um, so 2011, do indiegogo.” That’s it. That’s the extent of the nefarious action here, and it’s fine. It’s great. It’s all going to be okay for all the reasons Mark has laid out.

        To those who would complain, I suggest you ask yourself “why am I really complaining about this,” and the answer will likely be, “because I want people to give ME $60,000 for my vegan petting zoo.”

      9. tommy
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Didn’t mean to come off as complaining or even to presume that anything nefarious was taking place, I just fail to grasp why anyone would want to ‘invest’ a large sum of money without a significant payback or potential of a payback (unless 5 years worth of hamburgers is considered ROI).

        $10 for an overpriced burger some time down the road once the new and unimproved Blimpy opens? Fine.

        Still can’t figure out how the guy isn’t swimming in money after 20 years. Have grabbed a burger there a couple of times a year since the early 80s. Profits certainly weren’t put back into the business – same greasy spoon it has always been.

      10. albert
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Perhaps there’s the misunderstanding.

        The crazy (jims) thing is that $10k, in terms of an investment, isn’t very large at all. In fact, if you were to actually /invest/ $10k in the Blimpy enterprise as a partner, you would own such a tiny piece of the company, (but still hold 100% of the risk on your $10k) that the burgers for life might actually be a better move.

      11. 734
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        I’m torn on the dog with cancer thing. On one hand it seems like overreach, but, on the other, what do you do if you have a pet that you love, but not the money to treat him for his disease? Aren’t you obligated to at least try? Regardless of how you come down on these individual examples, I think most of us probably agree that it’s interesting to see how this new industry is evolving.

      12. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        I use my real name when I post. (GASP!) You’ll see my footprints just about everywhere in the mlive article. I used to post anonymously but now don’t care for those kind of ethics. You know, the kind of ethics where you say whatever you want, no matter how scurrilous or nasty, even yell fire in a crowded theater, with impunity.

        It was explained to me by one coward commenter that, “he” doesn’t care for the number and frequency of the articles about KJ’s. It’s free advertising. Nor do they care for the amount of “free advertising” for other local businesses like Zingermans and Michele Chamuel when she was on some tv show.

        So they fucking libel the person in the article. Juvenile cowards. Bullies, call them what you want but they serve no purpose in public forums. Even here.

        The MLIVE ed’s and writers choose the fucking topics. So the commenters talk shit about the person in the article like THEY wrote the article. If it were about free advertising, the UM tops the heap in coverage. (But that’s a whole nuther story)

        Anonymous commenters should be banned when all they do is make stuff up, name call, spreads lies and rumor and call it fact. And they do this from the safety of a comfy couch while hiding behind some sill fake name.

        The MLIVE ed’s and hall monitors are pieces of shit for letting people get away with that kind of purposeless negativity.

      13. Caleb Molejo Zweifler
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        A sound argument. It’s sad that certain people don’t look at an independently-owned and operated restaurant like Blimpy’s and see the human beings behind it.

        Rather in their financially-darwinistic worldview where banks, or worse yet, bank-loans are still somehow seen as a good thing in modern society.

        Community staples like Krazy Jim’s have faces hustling day in and day out so that we, as citizens of this country can still get a real American burger that isn’t riddled with ammonia and rat-feces.

        And those faces scrape by, making an honest living out of something that most Ann Arborites would jeer as ‘just flipping burgers’.

        NAY! Flipping miracles! flipping time-capsules of deliciousness! These hardworking maestros slave over billion-degree griddles and deep-fryers, hours on end, for US.

        Those capitalistic complainers of yours don’t seem to appreciate the lost art of the customer relationship. One that isn’t measured by likes on facebook but hands-on, one on one interaction.

        That’s the difference between a Blimpy’s and a 5 Guys. That’s why people wait in a line out the door. Because business isn’t always about the money. It’s about the people- on both sides of the counter mind you. The regulars, just as much as the employees.

        A crowd-funded Blimpy’s isn’t what’s wrong here. A UofM incorporated Ann Arbor devoid of the Mom & Pop shops that built the city in the first place IS.

      14. picky
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        This plea for funding for a burger joint strikes me as basically embarassing and pathetic. I think this is what has people’s internet blood lust up.

        Just embarassing and pathetic… especially how they really milked their long drawn out closure with those “last supper” fundraisers and protracted “last days of Blimpy’s!” events (That closure was very drawn out if we all remember…it seemed to occur as an ongoing event for several weeks…)

        I have a metaphor that suits this situation:

        Blimpy’s is like a special education version of an actual restaurant. They need a subsidy and lots of reassurance and support just to complete the basic things that most other businesses take as prequisites to successful operation.

        I’m all over special education when it comes to taxpayer funded education for the greater good.

        For running a for-profit burger joint?

        Not so much.

        Sorry, won’t be giving.

      15. tommy
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Mr. Cronn – what is your point? If you think … MLIVE ed’s and hall monitors are pieces of shit for letting people get away with that kind of purposeless negativity… then strap yourself in. It is like the Wild West on this blog sometimes.

        Signed, Tommy (a.k.a. – piece of shit)

      16. Jean Henry
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        So three crowd-funding pitches are put forward, all for community stakeholders– each of whom have contributed in their own way and with abundant energy to our community character and enjoyment–And we feel a need to debate whose cause is more worthy? I guess that makes sense in some removed rational way– if one is distanced from the positive ripple effect of actual community engagement. But people who are removed don’t tend to give, so there’s that.

        There is no need to turn giving into a competitive sport– to make martyrs and hustlers out of people in need. These things are personal, and rightly so. Giving is an investment in the world you want to make– and it’s a chance to give back to others who give of themselves. I contributed to all three causes mentioned, because all three have positively impacted my life in A2. It was a simple acknowledgement of that. In each case, a wrong is slightly righted and that feels good… or at least better. If Lisa was ill or Patrick’s dog needed care, I wouldn’t hesitate to help again. Because, in each case, I’m giving to the people as much as to the cause.

      17. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Caleb nailed it. Thanks brother.

      18. anonymous
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        The comments at AnnArbor.com are seriously out of control on this.

        http://www.mlive.com/business/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2013/12/blimpy_burger_owner_seeks_inve.html

      19. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Wiser heads prevail, Thanks Jean.

      20. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        So, tommy, I guess since everyone does it and that’s the way it is, it’s ok to smear, libel, slander denigrate and bully people. And since that’s the way it is everyone should act similarly.

        Those are some twisted ethics “tommy”. Grow up.

      21. Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Wow.

        I love this. People shouldn’t have opinions.

        Signed also,

        “piece of shit” or purveyor of “bullshit”

      22. tommy
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        I grew up when I stopped paying attention to or getting wrapped around the axle by anonymous blog posters.

        If questioning why someone who has run and operated an iconic and very successful local business for over 20 years with a product that are ‘miracles’ as a post above has noted and provides personal service second to none needs to raise funds by what is seen by some (including me) as begging is considered smearing and bullying, then guilty as charged.

        If, after 20+ years of great business while making no capital improvements doesn’t get you the scratch you need to invest back into your own business, then maybe there is a reason why he is coming to the public for money.

      23. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Peter, who said people shouldn’t have opinions? I’ll stop calling bs, when you have something more than an uninformed self righteous opinion which is about as valuable as bullshit.

        Ask Beezy’s how they’re doing? The Rocket? Are they a “faux” businesses? Why haven’t they expanded and added 20 more employees? I’m curious what their take is on operating a small restaurant and how they’re doing financially. If they’re were in financial trouble would you invest in them?

        For the record, I lived in Ypsi from 72-75. Perrin, Cross, Summit and Mich Ave.

      24. tommy
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Rick – for the record, so did John Norman Collins!

      25. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I heard that Beezy’s is going to start crowd funding. Since it’s a “faux” business and I’ve only been there a couple of times and don’t know the owners or their financial circumstances, they obviously don’t know what they’re doing. I won’t be donating.

      26. tommy
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        If you do know the Blimpy guy and his financial circumstances, do tell !!!! I would love to know the financials before I plopped down 10 grand, or before I questioned why someone who has been in business that long needs funding from ‘the people’

      27. anonymous
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Great points are being raised. I could do without the name calling and vitriol, though. FWIW, I did laugh at the JNC reference, though. The best way to win a debate, in my opinion, is to suggest that your opponent is serial killer like.

      28. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        For all the print that Mark heaps on Peter Larson, I imagined that he was a really smart guy.

        Then I remembered where we are. “tommy’s” world.

      29. Lynne
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        As an aside… regarding anonymous comments. I will just say that I like the ability to make comments anonymously. You see sometimes when someone thinks that you opinion is bullshit, they get angry and sometimes when people get angry, they don’t always limit themselves to handling that anger online. I’ve had my life threatened for saying such “bullshit” things as I think women are people who should be allowed to make decisions about their own bodies and it would make me happy if we repealed the 2cd Amendment and just banned guns altogether. I get it that those are not always popular opinions but I think it is important that they get said even though there are those who would shut down the conversation by threatening those who would voice them with physical harm.

        With that said, I find it interesting that people are getting so passionate about this issue. If some people like this burger joint so much that they are willing to donate money to them, so what?

      30. Elf
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Someone else said it earlier, but people are jealous by nature, and suspicious. People assume that the owners of Blimpy are wealthy, and they see this as a trick for them to pull a little more money out of the community. (Most of the people commenting at AA.com seem to think that the owners of Blimpy got the money from the sale to the University. They did not. All that money went to the owner of the building.) Does anyone here know the family personally? I’m curious as to what they think of all of this.

      31. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        First off, ask yourself what you would do in this situation. And leave out all the comfortably elitist bs that “he should have known better” or he’s a terrible business person and should fail.

        What I’m passionate about are standing up to anonymous commenters talking through their hat, out of both sides of their mouth, with forked tongues, claiming their shit don’t stink, spew outright lies, innuendo, rumor as fact, then claim that their uniformed opinion is as valid as seeing the sun rise in the East.

        It’s far beyond shameful, bordering on bullying. Kicking people while they’re down seems to be sport these days.

        I’ve known the Magners for 35 years. Both are incredibly hard working and dedicated to their family and business. They’re terrible upset by the lies, rumors and innuendo, all of which cannot be helping them move forward. So let’s kick them while they’re down.

        If 20 years in business in a highly competitive restaurant market means anything, it means that Rich Magner regardless of the uninformed negativists who can only make themselves bigger by making others smaller, knows how to run his business.

        Most commenters are only good at running their mouth.

      32. tommy
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        “tommy’s world” I like that. A place where my uninformed self righteous opinion (as you put it) is better than your humble and altruistic opinion.

        Let’s call a truce – I do not know nor have I ever met the proprietor and you have a relationship. I respect defending that, I really do. I do not question his work ethic, I do not question his ability to successfully run a business for 20 years. I do not question his passion. I question the means in which he and his family are trying to fund their new endeavor. Just seems that a guy with business acumen and 20 years of very steady business and little to no capital outlay that I can see wouldn’t have to hustle for dough.

      33. Elf
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Rick. I wasn’t aware that you knew them. That certainly explains why you’ve taken this conversation to heart. One doesn’t like to see their friends attacked.

      34. Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        “Ask Beezy’s how they’re doing? The Rocket? Are they a “faux” businesses? Why haven’t they expanded and added 20 more employees? I’m curious what their take is on operating a small restaurant and how they’re doing financially. If they’re were in financial trouble would you invest in them?”

        If any of those businesses went begging for cash to stay afloat without offering a tangible return of greater or equal value, I’d call them out as quickly as Blimpy’s.

        Understand, that the trouble I have with Blimpy’s (besides the awful food) is that they haven’t offered a return on the investment. The $10 gift cards are reasonable. You are basically buying your lunch ahead of time. The $500 for a $100 gift card and a T-shirt on the other hand is, to use one of Mr. Cron’s words, “bullshit.”

        This bring’s me to another point: Did Blimpy’s offer a living wage to its employees? If not, I think that the Ann Arbor community, usually so dedicated to liberal politics demand that it does.

        This is the problem I have with Mark’s support of these ventures. While so intent on calling out business for undercutting employees and shifting responsibility for health care, etc. to the public, he happily gives any number of small businesses a free pass to abuse their workers as they see fit, simply because of their fuzzy and lovable image. This is hypocrisy at its worst.

        Worse yet, while decrying the free market for national businesses, he, and others, excuse unsustainable ventures, arguing that small businesses have no choice but to exploit their employees (and communities) as the market won’t allow any other option.

        I can’t verify whether Blimpy’s exploited its workers, but I do think this is a subject for greater discussion. Having worked for small businesses which did, in fact, knowingly exploit labor, I can certainly attest that it does happen. That being said, there are small (and large) businesses which do provide for their workers. They should be rewarded, of course.

        Simply, businesses that can’t provide for their employees and sustain themselves without handouts shouldn’t exist. No one should get a free pass.

      35. Chaely
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        In all of this, nobody has really mentioned that every “sucker” who chooses to donate to this campaign is doing so out of free will. It doesn’t imply that they have to doin it in lieu of donating to more worthy causes, like some kind of Sophie’s Choice of crowd-funding, so I can’t figure out why people feel so passionately that just simply giving people the opportunity to be a part of something that has always been community-driven is NOT OK & should not even be considered.

        Do people even realize that there’s no law of the internet stating that once someone donates $10 to Blimpy’s, you can’t also donate $10 to the sick dog? You could do both rather than creating this false outrage that the Daddy Warbucks of Blimpy’s is stealing money from the mouths of needy babes. There might just be enough goodwill to go around.

      36. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        “I can’t verify” said the ivory tower academic.

        Say no more.

      37. Scott T.
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        I’m really baffled by the vitriol here. It is like getting angry that someone is using their money to buy a stupid candle. Who cares? If you don’t like the stupid candle, don’t buy it.

        Can we bottle this fury and use it in a case where when our towns and states give real handouts to big businesses in the form of tax breaks and subsidies?

      38. Eel
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Well said, Scott. We had no say about giving our tax dollars to Pfizer, who packed up and left, or Google, who said they’d hire 1,000 and only ended up creating a few hundred jobs.

      39. Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        I can’t verify it.

        If someone can speak up and say that Blimpy’s offered a living wage to it’s employees, I’m happy to support it.

        It’s a topic worthy of discussion. Why shouldn’t communities hold small businesses to the same standards as large ones?

      40. Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think I’ve been to Blimpy’s in a decade, and wasn’t planning to participate in their funding campaign. But I just went and put up $10, because I decided on reading this thread that people who don’t are highly correlated with people who are total dicks.

        For my $10, I get a $10 gift card, plus the intangibles of (as Mark noted) helping one fewer A2 institution get put out of business.

        For other people, other intangibles may have more value. Peter, I notice that in talking about the ROI for the $500 level, you mention only the gift card and t-shirt — but I’m betting that most people willing and able to throw $500 at Blimpy are more doing it for the “prestige”, for the ability to use the reward of jumping the line on a football Saturday, and that has enough value to them to be worth it. Otherwise they, uh, wouldn’t do it.

        Similarly, if it’s not worth it to you, don’t do it.

      41. Cat
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        The only thing that this thread is missing is Thom Elliott screaming about the meat industrial complex’s rivers of blood and gristle.

      42. Ken
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        How is this any different than the mug club at the Corner Brewery? I recall them starting that to get the place rolling.

      43. The Hamburgler
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        I’m trying to be objective about this. On one side, I can see the logic of contributing. Everything else aside, helping an Ann Arbor institution to survive an attack by U-M has merit. On the other side, though, I believe there are some unanswered questions. And I think that the owners need to accept some responsibility in that regard. When you undertake a campaign like this, you need to be open on the subject of your finances, and it sounds like they’re unwilling to do that. The Ann Arbor News story asked about the money they’d taken in during their Last Supper fundraiser, and it sounds as though they were unwilling to say how it would factor in. That makes people suspicious. If I were in their shoes I would have have laid it all out there.

        I would have said something like this. “In spite of the slim margins we operate under, we’ve managed to save $X over the past few years, as we knew this might happen. When added to the money we’ve taken in through our Last Supper event that brings our total to $Y. We’ve identified a building at the intersection of A & B, in Ann Arbor, where we’d like to open. We have an option on the property, but we need $T to close the deal. That’s where you come in.”

        If they’d done that, I think people would have been a lot more receptive to the idea.

      44. picky
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        After all this ponderous talk about “burger flippin’ miracles” and “social darwinism in fast food” and the coronation of Mr. Magner as a Saint of Small Independent Business…I’d be interested in some factual information about what Rich Magner actually paid his employees.

        I do know that from my brief association with some Blimpy employees (DeeVee the cook helped me out on an employee training session while at UM), everyone had second jobs or just worked part-time there.

        I’m guessing 8 bucks an hour.

      45. Lisa Waud
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Lisa here, of the aforementioned Dog With Cancer Crowdfunding Campaign.
        My two cents: I’ve always had trouble with asking for help when I need it most. When I learned my pooch had a ticking time bomb of oral melanoma and I couldn’t possibly afford the absurd idea of doggie chemo, I had two choices. Ask for help, or watch my dog “succumb” in a few months. (Canine oncologists use gentle words like that to make you feel less overwhelmed while deciding between your dog and $7000 in veterinary bills.) So, I decided to ask *everyone* I knew for help.
        As Caleb said above, asking for help really shows you the human side behind our endeavors. Of course some ideas sound silly compared to other ideas, more ‘important’ things perhaps. But in just over 24 hours since I launched a campaign to raise money to treat my dog for cancer, I have realized that when you share your story & make yourself vulnerable, that’s when you open yourself up to connect with people. You don’t feel that when you get approved for a loan at the bank. It’s not the bank teller saying that they were moved by your story and they believe in you.
        I suppose I could have just done what I do when a big bill comes along, hustle up some flower gigs and hope to pay off the vet bill-loaded credit card before someone comes for my knees. But I wouldn’t feel the way I feel today. I’d feel overwhelmed and alone instead of supported and connected.

      46. Bee
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Before I read the comments and let them influence my visceral reaction; I think this is perfect. It makes sense in every possible way.
        I’ve never eaten at blimpy either, but I respect the hell out of anyone who WANTS to get back into the game- and now, because of this, I really want a blimpy burger. I want to feel like I’m part of something, and for 10 bucks? Genius.

      47. Jean Henry
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        I’m noticing that the critique consistently cones from a ‘to each his own.’ either/or, place of suspicion and fear. Whole the support comes from place of belief in the power of the collective, sees win-wins, and a general position of trust and positivity. I’m glad I’m in that camp. I’d rather live in that world and be proven wrong than be right in the ither world.

      48. soundman
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        a thought for everyone that saying the $10 option is good because you’ll get a $10 meal later:
        indiegogo is not he same as kickstarter (and this is actually the first time i’ve seen anyone use indiegogo rather than kickstarter). on kickstarter the money donated is only collected if the goal amount is met. on indiegogo you keep all the money even if the funding goal is not met (they just charge you a bigger fee).

      49. butts
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        The ROI for the $10,000 is 16 years 10 months, assuming the burger prices are never raised. Plus you get to jump the line whenever. Not how I would spend 10 grand, but it’s not quite as stupid as everyone is making it out to be.

      50. Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        I always hated Blimpy Burger and I’m glad to see it go. I hope they never reopen, however I don’t mind watching them try. Blimpy is Wimpy in my opinion, but supporting a local business via crowd funding is nothing new or strange.

      51. Rick Cronn
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Hate is a pretty strong and wildly overused term. But I guess that’s to be expected in this age of overused superlatives where everyone or everything is either awesome, amazing and incredible or a pile of stinking shit. It’s not like NSA spying or sand in the lube. It’s a burger joint. A local business with decades of local service that provided jobs and has a loyal following Why the hate? It only burns you from within.

      52. double anonymous
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        If you’re looking for good causes to invest in, there’s also and indiegogo campaign for the Heidelberg Project.

        http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/art-from-the-ashes-securing-a-legacy

      53. Jody O'Neill
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        I worked at Blimpy Burger for a short period in the early 90′s. I liked working there and, though I don’t remember how much I was paid, I remember thinking it was good money. The only reason I didn’t work there longer was because it was my 3rd job, I was hired for a very part time position, and I had more hours at my other jobs. Plus, I missed my shift and was continuously late because I was over extended. They didn’t fire me, they just asked me if I had enough time to work there. Not a guilt trip kind of thing- they were willing to let me stay (if i could show up on time). I really was over extended, so I apologized, quit, and left on good terms. Many of their employees worked their for many years.

        I love Blimpy Burgers. It’s on my list of ‘must go’ when I’m back in A2. Part of this is nostalgia because it was one of the few places left that I went to, and loved, as a kid too. I do love their food too, really a unique burger experience, and I would much rather give my money to a local business than a chain.

        I don’t know the details of their overhead, costs etc. I do know the owners of other long time, successful, busy, mom and pop restaurants in the area and I know that if their location was threatened it would be incredibly difficult to move. Not to mention the loss of income for the family and extended family of long time employee/friends.

      54. Bob
        Posted December 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Jesus Peter, Blimpy’s too? What the fuck do you like? Seriously.

      55. Patrick Rady
        Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I don’t get the level of dislike about this. There are plenty of restaurants that I do not like, or more commonly, cannot afford, and I don’t feel compelled to take to various forms of social media and rail against them.

        That being said, I am more cheesed off about Corner Brewery changing their name than anything about Blimpy Burger.

        When entities start to do stuff to “enhance their brands” I want to take a long shower.

      56. Posted February 1, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        “We want to let you know that ‘Krazy Jim’s Blimpyburger’ has completed funding. They raised $20,396.00 including your contribution!”

      57. Elf
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

        They signed a lease on a new place:

        The wait for your next Blimpy will soon be over. Our search has come to an end. We have signed a lease! Our new home will be located at 304 S. Ashley, right next door to the Fleetwood Diner. We are thrilled to move into this downtown location that will offer you an honest-to-goodness alternative to the high end dining while still fulfilling your big game day fix. This convenient location features street parking as well as a surface parking lot across the street. The interior will be a bit different than our original location, but the important parts will remain the same: the famous Blimpy burgers (made from beef ground fresh daily) and homemade veggies and rings, all ordered in the Krazy Blimpy style. With our original tables and chairs, we are sure you will feel right at home in our new digs. We look forward to seeing some familiar faces and starting new Blimpy memories with you. We anticipate opening in late June, though it could be sooner. The work to Blimpy-fy the the building will commence shortly!

        Thank you for your patience in this process. We have had some bumps along the road. For many months we were working towards moving to a different location (the rumors were true), but just as the finish line was in sight, this location became unavailable and the search began anew. Serendipitously, 304 S. Ashley (the current Eastern Flame restaurant space) became available again and we feel it was worth the wait. We could not ask for a better landlord or more iconic neighbors. Itinerary for the full Ashley street experience: Start your day with a plate of hippie hash, grab a rock music lesson and a haircut before your tattoo session and finish the day with a quint cheese on an onion roll at Blimpy’s. The snowbears still don’t have the perfect home, but we are working on it….they may make an appearance on the roof.

        As for your perks, we will be striving to fulfill them in the next two months. Spring is in the air, the birds are singing and the smell of Blimpyburgers on the grill can’t be far behind.

        Thank you again for your support. Thank you for lifting our spirits when we needed it, for defending us at times, for sharing your stories and mostly, for your faith in us. We could not have done this without you.

        With love and appreciation,
        The Magner Family and the Blimpy Crew

      58. Bob
        Posted August 22, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Can we talk about the fact that the Greff family is crowd sourcing so that we, their adoring public, can buy them a new fucking kitchen? Unbelievable.

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