Save Vtopia Cheese Shop and Deli

$6,328 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 89 people in 32 months
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Short Story: 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.



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Hi Folks - I'm ending donations for this campaign since our summer is in full swing and business is booming! So much in fact that we sometimes can't make enough cheese to satisfy all of your appetites!

This past weekend we started Friday and Saturday with our cheese display case filled with cheeses and by the end of Saturday we were picked clean! You all REALLY love our vegan cheeses and I'm so thrilled to keep providing them.

Many have asked us to ship our cheeses out recently. Our little restaurant is so tiny that we're pumping out cheeses as quickly as we're able, but that means we don't have capacity to make more to ship out. Maybe in the future if we grow and expand.

Just want to thank everyone again who donated to help support us during our crazy Winter. It's thanks to you that we were able to survive and be as busy as we are today. <3
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I am SO happy that this Winter is almost over (evidenced by the green leaf on our rhododendron)! I just want to thank you all for your support. I couldn't have made it through this Winter without you!

If you haven't been in recently, we're rolling out some house made cheeses like Sriracha Cheddar, Smokey Whiskey Cheddar, Chèvre with Rosemary infused Riesling, and more.

We're also doing some fantastic Mini Puff Pastry sandwiches. These change daily, but we've had a BBQ Roast Seitan, Reuben, Hyam and Cheese, and Buffalo Mac. These are great as a starter or you can combine it with a soup or salad for a full meal.
Mini Puff Sandwiches
Gourmet Caprese Pizza (GF)
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If you're local to Portland (or watch the weather) you'd have noticed that we had quite a hazardous ice storm over the weekend. I dare say, if it weren't for the generous supporters of this GoFundMe campaign I would have been in quite a pickle. This campaign has already helped in the precise way that it was meant to; providing a safety net for emergencies until I'm able to save up. If you're unable to donate - please continue to visit the shop. We're training two new line cooks starting this week and they'll need a fair workout.

I had an interesting accident - during my cheesemaking experiments I was trying to preserve a batch with salt. The batch came out terrible, but for some reason I kept the salt. I found it in my cupboard and used it in a few sauces and on some homemade fries and it imparts a beautifully complex umami taste! I'm going to *try* to reproduce this and if successful, I'll send this out to backers as a thank you. I'll work my way from top donors down, but it'll take several weeks before it's ready. *fingers crossed*

Speaking of rewarding supporters, I'm going to contact GoFundMe tomorrow to figure out how to handle the rewards. I'll try to keep you all updated on how that's going to work as soon as I know anything.

Thanks again for all your love and support!
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It's a New Year!
The love and support pouring in has been so uplifting! People have been stopping by to tell us how much they enjoy our food and how much they want us to succeed. The vegan community really is amazing!

While I'm sending this we've hit about 20% of our goal. Even if we don't make the whole thing, this certainly helps. We had a pretty rough December because of the weather and holidays, but this extra money made it a lot easier to handle.

Once we get around the first quarter (or if the GoFundMe is completed) I'll be able to save up a little bit each month to make sure we have an emergency buffer. I appreciate all of you for donating. It means the world to me to be able to continue providing good vegan jobs and delicious vegan food.
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Read a Previous Update
Louise Harmon
24 months ago

Mathew....this is such wonderful news!!! Thank you for the update. I hope Vtopia continues to prosper!

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$6,328 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 89 people in 32 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created December 20, 2016
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$25
Cheryl Breuer
26 months ago

We visited over the weekend and absolutely loved it. Too bad we don't live in Portland or we would eat there constantly.

$5
asas sasas
30 months ago
$2,500
Anonymous
30 months ago (Offline Donation)
$10
Libby Jefferson
30 months ago
$18
Idith Mosko
30 months ago

Lots of love

RS
$75
Richard Scott
30 months ago
JS
$25
Julie Shook
30 months ago
HJ
$25
Harshil Jhaveri
30 months ago
AM
$25
Audrey McNamara
31 months ago
Louise Harmon
24 months ago

Mathew....this is such wonderful news!!! Thank you for the update. I hope Vtopia continues to prosper!

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