MURFREESBORO, TN – Ron and Hermione Piper opened the White Owl, a Harry Potter themed brewpub, in March, which fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a wizarding pub. Now, the Pipers want to grow the business.
The Pipers considered traditional sources of capital, such as private investors, bank loans, and credit cards. In the end, the couple chose to launch a GoFundMe campaign, asking the public to hand over hard-earned money, which may otherwise pay for basic life necessities, as donations to a for-profit business.
“We thought about a bank loan or credit cards,” said Ron Piper, “but why would we pay interest on a loan when we can just ask our customers to give us money for free without giving them anything in return?”
“He’s right,” said Hermione Piper. “Business loans and credit cards would make us actually invest in this place. We thought it would be much easier if the public just gave us free money to cover our expenses, which will help us earn profit.”
“The community needs us,” Ron said emphatically. “Our concept of a place that sells food and alcohol is so unique that the community should give us free money to expand. Have you ever seen someone build a for-profit business by borrowing money or using their own money? Sounds impossible to me.”
The GoFundMe list of common types of campaigns includes: “Most people use GoFundMe to raise money for themselves, a friend or loved one during life’s important moments. This includes things like medical expenses, education costs, volunteer programs, youth sports, funerals & memorials – even animals & pets.”
“I think the mission of GoFundMe has been distorted,” said Hermione. “All these GoFundMe campaigns about sick kids and mission trips have it wrong. The purpose of GoFundMe is, and has always been, small business lending.”
“Those unplanned medical emergencies and dying people should have planned better,” echoed Ron. “What are they adding to the community that our bar isn’t? I think donated money goes to better use at our bar, where we are a for-profit venture looking to make money.”
It is unclear whether the Pipers will offer incentives to customers who donate to the GoFundMe Campaign, but Ron sounded skeptical of giving anything worth a damn in return for people giving him part of their paycheck to help him run a business entity.
“Oh God no,” he remarked. “We are running a business. We need that money. If you want a handout, go to church.”
“But with this place open, you are free to purchase an eight dollar beer at any time,” added Ron, glancing wistfully to the sky. “This city is so lucky to have us here.”
You can learn more about the White Owl at www.ThatShamelessBar.com or www.WhatABadIdea.com.