Yes, I DID! A friend of mine suggested I sign up to win this grant through Chase, and now here I am, going after it! The first step in this process was to complete a few essay questions. The second step was to collect 250 votes, which I completed in about four days! Now it is time for the waiting game. My fingers and toes are crossed that the judges for this grant feel that I am a qualified recipient.
Am I worthy? YES! I am a proud small business owner who puts in roughly 80+ hours a week. Urban Decanter is my love and passion. I am extremely dedicated and determined to have a successful business that I can enjoy along with my wonderful guests and community. My friends, family and community have shown me amazing support through the first few steps of this process that it makes me smile and also led me to shed a tear a time or two.
What would I do with $250,000 dollars? To me that is like winning the jackpot! I could do SO much with this amount of money. Here are some of my thoughts:
Pay off business debts. Yes, I have a bit of business debt. I have a loan I need to pay off. Currently, servicing this loan ties up a good portion of my cash flow. With my loan paid off, my business would have additional cash that could be invested in more things such as inventory, equipment, supplies and *gasp* a new employee!
Buy new computers: My computers have issues, huge issues. They are slow, they crash, and I frequently want to toss them over the bar. Computers are vital to my business in many ways because I need them to run my point of sale, bookkeeping, signage, e-mail, inventory tracking, and more. If one of my two computers crashed all of a sudden, I would have some BIG problems. Replacing my computers at Urban Decanter is a high, but expensive priority.
Invest in new furniture: My current furniture is not working for Urban Decanter. Some of it is too heavy, other pieces are bulky, and some are just falling apart and desperately need to be replaced. The furniture situation does make me nervous and the time is coming where I need to invest in new furniture. Investing in new furniture would allow me to liven up the space and attract new customers.
Some other furniture I dream about are new wine racks. My shop has so much wall space that some beautiful tall wine racks would help immensely. Investing in such wine racks would allow me to expand my selection and grow my business at Urban Decanter, while continuing to create a comfortable, intimate space for people to eat, drink, and gather.
Start a savings account: Opening a savings account has been on my to-do list for quite awhile now. I want to have some funds set aside for emergencies, whether it be for a new piece of equipment if something breaks, or if I need to cover costs because I get ill or injured. I need to have that safety net and winning this grant would help me create one.
Remodel my kitchen/bar area: Most of my customers know what I am talking about here.... Our kitchen area is TINY! There is not enough counter space let alone enough space for refrigerated goods. If I were to win the $250,000 grant I would certainly remodel the bar area to give me more counter space, storage, refrigeration, and definitely bigger sinks!
Increase the amount of retail beer and wine: Urban Decanter has limited space in its shop which means we have to get creative with the space we have. I would love to increase the amount of wines that are in the shop by creatively using more wall space, and also increase the beer selection by adding a new beer cooler. I would also like to have a new cooler for retail meats and cheeses. Along with a larger beer and wine selection, I would LOVE to bring in more locally made food products. In Oregon, we have PLENTY!
My ultimate dream: There is a vacant space in my building located two doors down from my current location. The vacant space is equipped to build in a restaurant and is about twice the size of my current space. IF I won this grant, I would certainly explore the option of relocating Urban Decanter to this new location. It would be my ultimate dream.
Thank you to my friends, family, community, guests and everyone else who has shown me support in my business and dreams.