Thursday, February 01, 2007

How did we get here? Nov/Dec '06

[For those of you just tuning in, this post is a part of the 'How did we get here?' flashback series which started here]

Obviously, a lot has been riding on that location, including all of the time and money we've spent refining the designs, not to mention that our loan package is contingent on that location. We try to determine if any of the deal is salvageable, but the feedback we get is that it's pretty unlikely. We make some gestures nonetheless, but effectively, we go back to the drawing board, pulling out all the old maps and learning about available locations on the market now (since we haven't been looking since May).

By this time, we've really been developing the business around being in the Andersonville neighborhood, but since there are no other viable, available locations for us there, we reluctantly start looking again in other neighborhoods. A few places seem to have some potential, and after a couple walk-throughs we begin design explorations and financial projections for two alternatives. Eventually we then narrow it down to one (not shown). Though we think this new location has a lot of potential, the nature of the area is quite different, and we realize that the concept itself will need some pretty big adjustments.

Though we don't really know what to expect, just before Thanksgiving we finally get a face-to-face meeting with the owner of "our" original location, whom we haven't actually ever met. The meeting goes very well, and we learn that there had been a lot of miscommunication and misunderstandings on both sides. The condition of the space and terms of the agreement would apparently have to be different, but we cautiously agree to explore whether we can make it work and whether we can come to an agreement. Both sides are anxious to figure it out ASAP.

The allotment, layout and condition of the space is now significantly different than before, and includes less space in the rear area (kitchen), but much more in the basement (storage). We work with the architect to make sure we can still fit the bathrooms and the very minimum space we require in the kitchen area. The numbers have shifted around as well, so we adjust our calculations and discuss what all the changes mean to us. There are some technical issues as well, relating to the mechanical and electrical issues, but we work quickly and directly with the owner and his contractor to come to an agreement, which we somehow manage to reach within two weeks. It's a different deal, but it's a deal.

Meanwhile, our awesome banker has somehow managed to sustain our loan offer (though it was supposed to have lapsed by now). Finally, after even more emotionally draining confusion ("we sent the lease, but DHL says it's missing..."), we finally get a copy of the signed lease on Boxing Day 2006 (the day after x-mas), and head straight to the bank to close on the loan!


And that's where this (real-time) blog first picked up...

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