A permanent home for Dot 2 Dot Cafe
My name is Karen Henry-Garrett and I am a chef and restaurant owner. Just over 10 years ago I decided that my neighbourhood, in Dorchester, MA, was the perfect place for a café/breakfast spot. Dorchester often gets a bad reputation for gun violence, drug abuse and only ever seems to hit the news when the story is negative. I lived in the area and the beauty of this part of Boston is its mix of so many different cultures, nationalities, newcomers and long time residents. We are often overlooked but I could see no reason why we shouldn’t have just as much choice on our doorstep as, say, Jamaica Plain or South Boston, the 'trendier' parts of Boston.
Now I am just shy of 9 years in business and have become a part of the neighbourhood and a part of your community. Many of you have voiced your reasons for coming to Dot 2 Dot which range from the quality food that you enjoy, the ambience, the child-friendly atmosphere, the unique mix of clientele. We have had the privilege of hosting everything from small theatrical productions, art shows, kids cooking classes, to open mics showcasing up and coming singer/songwriters. I have been told many times that Dot 2 Dot feels like ‘a safe spot, where one can just stop to breathe for a while’ and it has evolved into a community hub for artists, musicians, book lovers, knitters, poets, young chefs, to name a few.
I know that many of you think that we fill a need in our community and have been kind enough to let me know that in many different ways. Strangers, who have become friends, helped out behind the counter, helped clear tables and washed dishes when I was struggling to make it all work. Acts of kindness like this made it very clear to me that I was in the right place at the right time. It gives me no greater joy than to see my place filled with everyone from the hoodies to the business suits, little children, grandparents, black, white, Vietnamese, Irish, Haitian, Caribbean, all coming together peacefully.
Moving 9 years forward we find ourselves in the following scenario. My current landlord has suddenly announed that he is selling the property and I can have first refusal on my unit. To even have a stake in this proposal, I need your help.
We think we can secure a loan but still need to raise the bulk of the deposit against the asking price, which may be as high as 20%. We are looking at somewhere in the region of $50-$60,000 and the current owner is hoping to close the deal within the next couple of months. To be able to own the building gives me the safety net of knowing that we will not suddenly lose the space as this area continues to change.
With a more secure financial base we would also hope to make necessary improvements in order to make the kitchen and counter area larger, and could ensure that Dot 2 Dot would be a stable part of our community for many years to come. I would like to start a ‘Go Fund Me’ account and ask you, my community, to help in any way you can. If you feel that Dot 2 Dot has become a part of what makes Dorchester so vibrant, then please tell your friends, your work colleagues, your fellow church members, why you would like to help and how they can too.
I appreciate all of you who have made this venture so rewarding and hope that we will continue to see many more years together. Thank you for taking the time to read this appeal.
Posted by Karen Henry-Garrett
It is very humbling to know that you, my community, believe enough in what Dot 2 Dot is about to want to support us financially. We have a long way to go but with the range of support that has already started, I believe our goal is achievable. You could look at it this way - if 1000 people donated $60 each, we would reach the target without breaking a sweat! Many of you have kindly given even more than that.
Please help by telling others how they can help and let's watch together how we can make this appeal snowball (no pun intended, given the current weather!). Together we can keep it real for our community.
Thank you so much again. Karen Henry-Garrett