Last night I reached a decision that will finally end the long experiment known as the GoNOMAD Cafe. It’s become clear that it is not a viable business for me, and after a nightmare of trying to fund a payroll, I have set a date for the closing of the business. In late June we will close our doors and until then we are open and hoping that someone will approach us about buying it and keeping it going.
What I did back in 2006 was open a business with my heart, not my head. I never did a traffic count to see how many people were actually driving by, nor did I carefully figure out how much my food was going to cost. I didnt’ think about how tough it would be to rely on a town center of 1800 souls to keep my seven-days-a-week cafe full of customers.
Instead I thought about foods that I really love, and put them all on the menu, regardless of cost. I bought five computers thinking it would be fun to have an internet cafe….but they gathered dust and few people paid us to use them. I set up a series of computer classes to teach people about using EBay, and iTunes, and photos on the web…but got only a few takers. I threw so many things out there and now face the truth. What I was selling they weren’t buying.
It’s tough having to tell staff members you are letting them go. It’s also tough trying to pay them when sales are flat and bills are mounting. I go in to the office in a few minutes to tell another person they’re done. This isn’t pretty and it’s damn hard, but it’s all a part of business and what has to be done. If you’ve never been an employer before, you might want to stay that way, because having these mouths to feed is terrifying.
I asked my dear friend Paul to remind me in late August about what my life was like in mid-May 2011. He’s also gone through a difficult patch himself of late. But I always think about the how life’s path weaves in and out, and moves us ahead….and how the universe does indeed bring us the answers and the things we need. I will go about my business with a proud heart, I gave it a real effort, and I look forward to an August conversation that will include a few laughs about how terrible I thought it would all be back in May 2011.