The Cafe Is Closing in Late June….and Life Will Be Fine After All
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.
May 13, 2011 @ 5:24 pm
Max, I am sorry to hear the cafe is closing but also happy for you. You can now spend more time on the website, writing and traveling. What I love most about this post is the upbeat tone. All the best for future endeavors!!
May 17, 2011 @ 3:02 pm
This is a very sincere, very earnest disclosure of running a business Max. Thank you for sharing. PilotGirl Productions is still getting by (I too started in 2006) but I never ever foresee myself out of debts (cameras are costly) or far from stress. I too have good months and bad months. But, it’s trips to France that I just took for GoNomad that keep reminding me to relax and enjoy life one day at a time.
June 4, 2011 @ 12:34 am
Just as I was wondering how to get to MA sometime soon so I could write and drink coffee at GoNOMAD Cafe, I read that you’re closing. I checked out the photos on gonomadcafe.com and it looked like such a friendly place (sandwiches looked good too). This is very sad news, but I understand how relieved you must be too.
I applaud you for being so honest about the things you overlooked when you went into business. I wish all first-time small business owners (esp. those without a written business plan) could read this post. So many times I’ve watched as people opened a shop based on their passion but didn’t choose a location that could support it.
It’s a well-worn saying but “As one door closes another one opens” might eventually feel pretty good. I hope you and your friend Paul will both be starting to feel that by late August.
June 20, 2011 @ 11:37 pm
Hi – I stopped by the cafe this morning (I think you were on the other side of the locked door!) and was so sad to see you were closed.
In June of 2010, my dear 84 year old father, who lives one street over from you, had surgery on a cancerous tumor on his leg. The surgery and rehab, and subsequent complications due to vision loss and other complaints of old age, have taken their toll on him, my 85 year old mother, and to a lesser extent on me and my two brothers who have worked in many various ways to help them out, including visiting, chores, staying with Mom while Dad was in rehab, etc. etc. Dad celebrated one year post surgery the other day! which is great.
“Go Nomad” was my brothers’ and my respite place. While my mother was extremely needy, she would begrudgingly allow us a few minutes to go get a “good cup of coffee”. My brother and I would share the coffee punch card (I’m a little mad – we were close to getting another free cup.) I love little places like yours and when I find them, I do what I can to bring some business. Sorry it wasn’t enough!
Here’s hoping that a buyer comes along (if I had the money I’d do it!) and thank you for all you did! I wanted what you were selling, even if the rest of South Deerfield didn’t!