by Nancy Stiles
UPDATE: Local Harvest has switched to an IndieGoGo page -- you can find it here. There are twelve days left in the campaign.
It's been just over a week since Local Harvest Cafe & Grocery (3137 Morganford Road; 314-772-8815) re-opened its Tower Grove location with a new concept and branding as "LHC." The Kirkwood location closed in August after just ten months. Now it appears that the entire Local Harvest company could fold altogether. Owners Patrick Horine and Maddie Earnest posted a plea on Local Harvest's Facebook page yesterday outlining the cafe's financial straits and how fans can help it stay open.
We spoke to Horine on the plan to save LHC and what will happen if it doesn't reach its $120,000 goal.
Here's the Facebook post that appeared yesterday:
Horine tells Gut Check that re-branding as LHC helped business pick up in Tower Grove, but the failure of the Kirkwood location is still weighing them down.
"[For] about fourteen months we've been kind of just struggling at all locations because of the amount of money we had to put into the Kirkwood location. It's just been building up and it hit a critical point last week," says Horine.
Horine says they don't really have the time to set up an actual Kickstarter campaign, so the Facebook campaign is LHC's own version. To help them raise $120,000 by February 7, you can buy a gift certificate that can be redeemed in early 2015 and will earn 10 percent interest. You can also buy a year-long punch card for $100, that will get you $10 each month at Local Harvest.
If the campaign fails to meet its goals, funders' credit cards will not be charged, or they will be refunded if purchased online. You can buy a gift certificate or punch card in-store or online here.
"We've had crises before and struggled before. Maddie and I have always stuck with it because we feel like what we're doing is import for the neighborhood and our community," Horine says. "We feel like we need to give the community an opportunity to try to do something -- we know if we just close the doors without doing that, a lot of people would be upset."
The original Local Harvest Grocery opened in 2007 and the cafe started out as a sandwich counter inside before moving to a storefront across the street in 2008. The downtown and Kirkwood locations opened in 2012. Horine and Earnest also founded the Tower Grove Farmers' Market.
"We don't really have a plan B. This is it. It's a critical point -- we don't really have a way to go on," Horine says. "We're just going to have to play it day to day right now during this campaign and see if we are able to reach our goal."