Scoot! Craft Cold Brew Finances Coffee Shop Build-Out with Crowdfunding!
Scoot! Craft Cold Brew is striving for two goals: to show that quality cold brew coffee can be enjoyed year round, even in unforgiving Cleveland winters, and that a coffee shop can be much more than a place to get caffeinated.
Owner Kari DeGraff opened up the coffee shop with the encouragement of her wife, Abby in Seattle. When Abby was relocated for her career as a JAG officer with the Coast Guard to Cleveland, they moved the business to Cleveland and set up shop.
To finance the buildout and startup costs for Scoot! Craft Cold Brew, Kari ran a Honeycomb crowdfunding campaign, raising $49,000 from 30 investors. Read on to learn more about how Kari is incorporating elements of sustainability into her business’s model, and what it means to her to be a business that’s part of a growing community.
Caffeine buzz or crowdfunding buzz? Why not both?
Coffee shops like Scoot! Craft Cold Brew are some of our favorite “third places” in the community, especially when they work hard to provide a socially conscious and environmentally friendly cafe experience. And because they’re so important to the communities they’re in, coffee shops are well-positioned to crowdfund their capital needs!
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Entering a new community with a new coffee concept, and getting community support right back!
When Kari and Abby moved, they also moved Scoot! Craft Cold Brew from its infancy in their garage in Seattle into a new stage of its life, a brick and mortar store in Cleveland.
The building for Scoot! Craft Cold Brew first was just going to be a garage for their ‘64 Chevy Corvair Rampside delivery truck and a headquarters for bottling, but Kari soon realized that it was also a great place to open up a taproom and coffee shop, and to be the first in their community to do so.
“It's hard, you know, to be a small business that’s a new brand in a space that no one thinks that a coffee shop would be,” says Kari. “The benefit is that we're all kind of growing together and figuring it out.”
In order to finance the build-out of the taproom, Kari decided to run a Honeycomb campaign instead of going to a bank.
“I really liked the Honeycomb model, it seemed more personal,” says Kari. “I had the option of going with an economic development business loan option, but with Honeycomb it was a little bit of a better fit.”
The customizability that Honeycomb was able to offer to Scoot Craft Cold Brew’s campaign was also something that Kari found beneficial. “Honeycomb was able to offer initially interest-only payments, in which case the bank wouldn't have,” she notes. “That was really helpful, because we were in the beginning surge of COVID, and we weren't getting a lot of customers. We had just opened, and we were just really fighting to stay alive so to keep our monthly expenses as minimal as possible and help us get a little bit more time to grow was really helpful.”
For Kari, one of the highlights of the Honeycomb campaign was that it got the community involved in her new business. “To see the community involvement and to see the neighborhood be so supportive of an idea made me more hopeful that people believed in us.”
Sustainable growth from cold brew growlers to well-being across the counter
An important thing to note about Scoot! Craft Cold Brew is that they operate on three pillars: economic prosperity, supporting a healthy natural environment, and promoting well-being for all. This comes across in multiple ways in the coffee shop’s day-to-day as well as their overall strategy. It was one of the things about Scoot! that us at Honeycomb really liked about them, because we’re all about building up communities through community capital.
Scoot! Craft Cold Brew uses compostable products in their cold brew tap room, and offers discounts for using reusable receptacles such as coffee tumblers or growlers. They also offer a fair wage to their employees and encourage a healthy work-life balance.
“I think one of the reasons that I started Scoot to begin with was because I had a problem with the current business model, where everything is growing forever and it's just take take take,” says Kari. “The majority of businesses out there tend to exhaust resources, and because you want to show growth you want to show numbers. Eventually in time, you're just gonna burn out, you're not gonna have any shareholders to answer to because we're not gonna have any communities to provide for.”
For Kari, holding true to these values isn't just to hop on the sustainability trend: she sees them as integral to her business’s success and growth.
“I think people produce better and they operate better when they're rested and balanced and happy, and creating their own things,” she says about encouraging a work-life balance for her employees. “The same goes for the community, it's not just about taking everything we can get from the community, it’s about how do we renew the community, how do we give back. I think it's all cyclical, it just comes back to you and everybody's taking care of one another.”
We feel the same way, Kari! One of the things that Honeycomb is proud of is the fact that our model helps to generate a regenerative and cyclical economy in our communities. When someone invests in a Honeycomb campaign, they get to contribute to a business’s growth and build their own wealth at the same time, democratizing the investing process for all.
Grow with the community by your side
When you’re a business owner that values sustainability when it comes to your growth, you might be looking for a way to benefit your community while you’re growing your business. Crowdfunding a small business loan through Honeycomb Credit is one way you can do that!
Fill out the form below to receive more information about how you can finance your small business’s growth with Honeycomb.