· By Tarleton Walmsley
TLDR: Garden Party is seeking an investor(s) to help us purchase commercial property and enter our next phase of growth. Please read on for more:)
Did you know May is Small Business Month? I didn't know either, but it's true and also being celebrated in Asheville this week. I suppose you could say that I've been a little bit busy in the weeds managing our business to stop and smell the roses of it all, so to speak. And yet this feels like an apt opportunity to share some news with everyone about Garden Party and what's been happening behind the scenes for us this year.
As you know, our year started with our business getting broken into and robbed. The break-in seemed to bring with it a chain of events, one after another. Some of them personal, some pertaining to the business; all of them rather stressful and not at all grounding.
When we reached out to our landlord to let him know about the break-in, he informed us that he would be selling the unit (top and bottom) in which we are located and would not be renewing our lease when it ended in April, opting instead for us to rent month to month. We made an offer to purchase from him despite not actually having access to a large sum of money on the fly. Still, we knew we needed to "shoot our shot" in order to do whatever necessary to protect our business and ensure its continued success. Our landlord declined our offer and the units went to market.
There are so many unknowns with this process and our business has hit an impactful inflection point in its almost-5th year. It’s been incredibly hard to plan anything not knowing if we’ll be here a month from now, six months, or even a year since our landlord is unwilling to renew our lease. At a time in our business when we should be focusing on offering new products, working to refresh the brand, start planning our 5th birthday at the end of summer, we are instead operating in a place of uncertainty and unknowns, of daily anxiety and pressure. Of course we have been considering all kinds of different options, but commercial retail prospects here are slim and we've been really happy with our current location. The long term health of our business will be determined by having access to an affordable, sustainable retail location.
Although we've been working behind the scenes to try to negotiate a new lease and reach out to our immediate network of friends and family for support, the time has come to release this out into the universe. Here's what we're looking for:
*Investors to partner with in acquiring this commercial property. We’ve got a viable, long-term plan for how to invest together and ensure that our business continues to grow and impact our community in positive ways for years to come.
*Investors to help us reach our next level of growth. We've been open since August 2018 and have built a successful brand, offering an elevated shopping experience for people exploring their relationship with cannabis. In year 5, we want to update our website, hire someone to enhance our branding and current product offerings, launch new products, and eventually expand to other cities. This list could go on and on...we have a lot of big, creative ideas that we'd love to see come to fruition but quite frankly lack the capital to fund these projects.
Now for the good news. Despite the challenges of small business ownership, each year Garden Party continues to grow. We've continually experienced 22-25% of growth each year in business and we're on track to do the same this year. In 2022 our business became profitable for the first time and this year we'll be paying off our first business loan from Mountain Bizworks. Although these benchmarks might not equate to a million-dollar valuation, our business has been slowly, sustainably growing each year. Perhaps most of important of all, Garden Party has become much more than an elevated smoke shop. It's a community hub, a safe place for building connection, and a resource for accessing goods and products that help people feel supported in a world that often feels scary and hard. We know Garden Party matters to many, many people because they say so, whether it's their first time in the shop or if they've been a loyal customer since the beginning.
So. All of this being said, we're releasing this out into the world both because it's been incredibly hard keeping it under wraps and because we need your help. Perhaps you're our ideal investment partner--someone who knows that investing with us means you're involving yourself with people who want to do good things with the money their business makes, and leads with its values first and foremost. Someone who knows we're in it for the long haul and understands our slower pace of growth. Someone who already knows and loves Garden Party and wants to help us nurture it into its next iteration. And if it isn't you directly, maybe you know a friend, family member, even a co-worker that might have the means to help us. In any case, we want to talk options, tell you about our long-term vision, and figure out a way to keep our business operating in Asheville for years to come. You can reach us here: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and let's get a conversation started. And as always, thank you for Garden Partying with us. xoxo