Back in July, when I heard that Vtopia Cheese Shop & Deli was going to close, I quit my nice stable IT Job, cashed in my savings and threw caution to the wind to buy the shop. Unfortunately, the upfront cost of ownership was much more than I had expected and I need your help to keep this local portland vegan landmark here.Longer version:
The original owners of Vtopian Artisan Cheeses started cheese making, then started the restaurant, then found out they were pregnant. They did their best, but raising a child and two businesses was a lot to handle and one of them had to go (and it wasn't going to be the baby!)
When I found out they were selling the business, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to work closer with people. I was finding that in IT the more you were promoted, the less people you spoke to. Even though I was organizing events like Vegan Drinks PDX and Portland Metro Veggies, I felt isolated. Owning the restaurant allowed me to be closer to people and I LOVE providing delicious vegan food for people.
I spent the first few months getting a handle on the business and making things more efficient. I have a lot of fresh ideas for the direction of the restaurant, but the thing dragging me down is the initial purchase of the restaurant. I've taken loans to help cover it, but paying for everything with the last of my savings has left me in a precarious position. In addition to funding the business, I've not taken a paycheck for over three months. This money would allow me to reduce the overall amount that I'm borrowing and provide some operating capital to keep us afloat.
For the first time in my life I am a business owner. Our little restaurant pays for 8 vegan jobs in Portland. It provides a space to introduce non-vegans to dairy free cheese that tastes AMAZING! We're able to host fundraisers (most recently raising over $1000 for Standing Rock Legal Defense). We host pop-up shops for other vegan businesses who don't have the resources to open a brick and mortar themselves.I truly believe that by supporting Vtopia Cheese Shop and Deli you'll be making a positive change for years to come.