The N&O has an article on Intrepid Life

The News and Observer has an article on the situation with additional information that supports what I was told earlier this week. They do journalism. It’s good. Go read it.

I do feel like I need to highlight Victoriano’s response when he was asked why he opted not to pay back rent with the campaign funds:

“I specifically stated that it would either be to pay back rent and stay in the space or be used to open up in a different location,” he said in an interview this week. “People didn’t donate money to the Indiegogo funds to pay my debt to (his landlords), and there are other people that I owe debt to and family members and credit cards that I owed money to before my landlords.”

The wording for the campaign wasn’t so candid.

“Wasn’t so candid” from the N&O is being generous there. The campaign text never mentioned the funds being used for moving or paying “other” debt, while it unambiguously stated that paying the rent was a campaign goal. He might have “specifically stated” those things to somebody, but he didn’t “specifically state” them at the place where he was asking people to give him money.

Durham News Odds and Ends, so long summer edition!

It’s been a long summer. Like, really long, and I haven’t managed to do a new DNO&E in two whole months, making this DNO&E also really long. That’ll teach me to go on vacation instead of writing blog posts…

Anyway, fall’s almost upon us now, and here’s the news way back from the summer that was:

Heck yeah, that’s gonna do it! The last DNO&E of the summer is always fleeting and a bit poignant, but these memories last a lifetime, ya know?

Intrepid Life’s crowdfunding campaign succeeds, but the cafe is closing anyway

As discussed last week, Matt Victoriano, the owner of Intrepid Life, launched an indiegogo campaign to raise $25,000 in support of the business. The campaign exceeded that goal and is now sitting at $28,226 with three days left.

And yet, as per their Facebook page, the cafe is still unable to stay open, and they’re now hosting a “silent auction” to liquidate items and raise funds:

Thanks for all of the support. We aren’t able to stay at our current location, so we are looking for a new space in Durham. Our last open at the current location is this Saturday.

To be clear, Victoriano made no guarantees to backers that a successful fundraiser would enable the cafe to continue on Parrish St. It was, however, heavily implied in the campaign text:

While business was expanding rapidly during the spring, it stagnated to such a degree during the summer that my landlords have given me until September 7 to pay past rent or close the business…

… a tidal wave of support from patrons, community members, and business owners convinced me to look deeper, find solutions, and start a Kickstarter campaign to continue the work that I have dedicated to veterans and the Durham community.

Money raised would enable Victoriano to:

4) keep Intrepid open by paying past-due rent.

Nowhere does the campaign text state that the goal is to help re-open the business later.

I’ve never met Victoriano and I don’t know what he was thinking going into this project. It may well be that he was blindsided by something after the crowdfunding campaign started, and that he had to change his plans midstream. Or maybe he knew all along he’d have to shut down even if funding succeeded. I just don’t know.

Regardless, communicating details like this in a timely manner is crucial to building trust and running a successful crowdfunding venture, because you really want your contributors to know what they’re getting for their donation. It’s one thing to shell over some cash to keep a functional business operational in its current form; it’s something quite different to shell over some cash to the owner of a defunct business to help him potentially re-open elsewhere in the future.

Since the project has met its funding goal, the money will be dispensed to Victoriano (minus Indiegogo’s cut) and he’ll be able to use it as he deems appropriate.

What happens to people who funded the campaign? Well, some of the backer rewards can be delivered without the cafe existing in a physical location. But for those backers who were expecting, say, a $50 store credit delivered in September? Yeah, you might be getting that credit in September, but there may not be anywhere for you to use it for a while.


Dear Council members and Mayor Bell:

You have no doubt seen the recent articles in the Herald-Sun highlighting the neck downs which the city intends to install on West Club Blvd:
This project, expected to cost $350,000, would place traffic islands on the street directly in the path of cyclists. Should this occur, cyclists will be forced to weave in and out of traffic around four intersections. This would create a perilous traffic pattern and one that I believe would be worse for cyclists than the status quo.
As you may know, this design dates back to a study conducted thirteen years ago, at which time the needs of cyclists were not considered. I think it’s safe to say that the transportation priorities of Durham residents have changed in thirteen years; there are more cyclists than ever on our streets, and that number grows every day. Club Blvd was subsequently identified as a crucial artery for cyclists and a target for bike lanes in 2006, and yet the Club plan has not been revisited to take that designation into account.
I attended a BPAC meeting in which Mark Ahrendsen indicated that the fate of this project now rests on the board of the WHHNA. The department of transportation is not eliciting public input, and the WHHNA board now has discretion to determine whether this design is implemented.
I believe that granting such authority to the WHHNA is a mistake, since as well intentioned as they may be, they do not appear to be considering the needs of Club users who reside in other parts of the city. I feel like the transportation needs of myself – and of other cyclists – have not been represented in this process.
I’m reaching out to you in hopes that you might reexamine the design of Club, and re-evaluate whether it makes sense for a few people on the WHHNA board to make such an important transportation decision alone. I am certain there are better options for Club that would satisfy the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, WHH residents, and motorists alike, but I am now concerned that these options will never even be considered due to the momentum behind the 2001 plan.
Thanks very much for your time,

Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop has been nominated for Bon Appétit’s “best new restaurant”

Rose’s has rapidly become one of my favorite stops around the Brightleaf area, serving up freshly cut meat, baked goods, and prepared meals. I was happy to learn that the shop managed to make its way onto Bon Appétit’s list of 50 nominees for best new restaurant, despite not even really being a restaurant.

They’ve got some stiff competition (including one other NC eatery in Asheville’s “Rhubarb”) but they’re the only shop in the triangle to make the list. Best of luck, guys!

I am alive!

Hey guys! I have (and by extension, has) been on vacation for the past week. Rest assured, stuff has still been happening!

Regularly scheduled programming should resume this week.

Happy 4th!

I hope you guys have fun! As for me, I’ll be riding in the Firecracker 100K ride in Cary. Be sure to say hi if you’re there, OK? I’ll be the guy with the bike. Regular programming resumes Monday.