The owners of the Island Soul Rum Bar & Soul Shack in Columbia City, Theo and Gaelyn Martin, are taking an unconventional approach to funding their new restaurant by asking the community to join in.
The Martins’ new family restaurant, Arleana’s, is slated to open in the summer of 2022 on the Kirkland waterfront. To fill a $ 291,000 void that small business loans and landlord contingents don’t cover, they launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that will run until December 10, 2021. On the first day alone, the campaign raised $ 14,942 in pledges, going 23 percent of the way to meet its $ 50,000 goal. The Kickstarter page can be found here.
The Kickstarter Reward Tiers include working with local artists such as Feed the People’s Founder and Chef Tarik Abdullah, Island Soul Chef Byrce Martin, and Seattle graphic artist Kat Young, who all worked together to create condiments, recipes, t- Develop shirts and dining experience packages These range from $ 25 to $ 10,000 reward levels. Your hope is to beat the $ 50,000 funding goal, but with Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing model, it means they won’t get a penny if they fail to meet their goal.
“It is a very difficult time borrowing money from the bank as a black business owner,” said Theo Martin. “And yet a lot of people turn to us during COVID times and say they don’t want our food to go away.”
The National Bureau of Economic Research found that 41% of black-owned businesses closed between February and April due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Martins are now hoping to sit back on their community as they experience unexpected COVID delays and supply chain cost increases in the months leading up to Arleana’s opening.
“We ask people to get involved,” Theo Martin said in his video to the community. “We want you to be part of it.”
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