If you invest, you're betting El Condor Coffee Roasters will be worth more than $4.8M in the future.
The available deck provides much detail about the concept and the brand (please read through it carefully), but we wanted to highlight a few things over here, especially as to what the investment will allow to accomplish.
For those who are discovering our coffee concept & brand, please know that we already raised exactly $299,900 with Wefunder back in April 2021. So this is our second crowdfunding campaign, with a much higher objective and even larger ambition. The initial fundraise gathered a lot of support from Friends & Family and enabled us to open the first coffee shop in NYC, and this new round will get us through the first expansion phase in the US.
This form of capitalization and company ownership structure really resonates with us, and we have been showed a lot of interest from guests when having a chance to explain how it all came together. Hopefully they are going to participate and you will be motivated to embark on the journey as well!
Mikaela Shiffrin was our role model during the first campaign, so we will give her another shoutout this time around as well! Not only are we huge ski enthusiasts, but she also now holds the all-time record for World Cup wins, male or female, with 88 and counting... Such an inspiration to get things done!
Needless to say that the past 21 months have flown by...
- We finished negotiating the terms for the space at 95 Greenwich Avenue in NYC and signed the lease in late June 2021.
- Graphic design/branding was already underway with Made by Colony and was revealed for the first time in January 2022 to launch our Instagram account and tease the upcoming of the coffee shop.
- The West Village location finally opened its doors on February 14, 2022 (just a coincidence, but an anniversary date pretty easy to remember!). It was a long and quite painful buildout process (like any other construction project, unfortunately), and along the way we learned quite a few valuable lessons that will make the next ones easier...
- The first few weeks (being open from 7am-9pm 7 days) were rather slow, but the initial feedback was very positive, and neighbors quickly became regulars while word of mouth increased.
- Expecting a slow summer (which it was, with most New Yorkers away), we started operating in the leanest way possible from Memorial Day weekend (reduced hours, 5 days a week only).
- Late summer, we hosted several pop-ups to showcase El Condor as a flexible concept and activate the space at night, anticipating extended hours again from the fall (still 5 days a week, but until 7pm).
- Q4 2022 was much more solid from a business standpoint, with 50% of the revenue generated throughout the entire year since opening (more traffic, better average checks, a catering client).
- We are going to soon close the first year of operation with a total of $550,000 worth of net sales.
- 2023 is going to be about improving results at that flagship store level, while bringing the concept and brand to the next level.
A very reputable local developer we have been having a trustful relationship with for quite some time, a new and ambitious mixed-use project in an up-and-coming part of town, a prime 1,500 square foot space within the whole site, favorable terms to set us up for success, how could we have passed on the opportunity to open in a great city where we have already done work and which dining scene is booming?...
Another deal based on an existing relationship, in a groundbreaking development in a rapidly-growing city. Nashville has become even more relevant post pandemic, with half the US population no more than 2 hours away. Apart from other restaurants, El Condor will have a coffee exclusivity within the campus, with a main, perfectly-located all-day cafe and a satellite location on the ground floor of the office building, plus activation opportunities throughout.
Speaking of the new relevance of "secondary" markets, Raleigh-Durham is ranked #6 best place to live in the US. Combined with an historical site renovated by one of the top developers in the country (also behind Chelsea Market in NYC or Ponce City Market in Atlanta, GA), this is an excellent opportunity to create something with a great sense of place. And once again deal terms are particularly favorable.
Beyond the footprint expansion, 2023 also has to be about starting establishing more the coffee concept as the lifestyle brand it is meant to be.
We have been receiving comments from guests about the atmosphere of our West Village store on a daily basis: coziness, warmth of the materials and the tones, intentionality of the interior design, impact of the graphic design, music playing in the background, etc. That location is also a proof of concept in terms of lifestyle inspiration and how that in-store experience has to translate into other opportunities to connect with the brand.
Whether we create our first pieces of merchandising (the first, easiest idea being a custom kitchen apron based on our team uniform), we keep developing our range of retail products (beyond our first can of cold brew currently available in store and online), or we continue using our spaces for pop-up events (special themed dinners, chef/concept incubator, art exhibitions), the vibe we have created with El Condor has to transcend the four walls of the cafes.
Besides everything we want to accomplish as a coffee business, we believe we also had the responsibility to implement the right policies as a hospitality company, especially from a HR standpoint. We have a lot to say in that regard, and certainly don't want to make it too long over here, but in a nutshell we had the opportunity of a blank page and wanted to write what will hopefully be a trailblazing model for our industry, which deserves the same attention and respect as any other: fair compensation regardless of positions, career path, insurance coverage, good work/life balance, etc. Not everything we want to do is available to start-up businesses with a small number of employees, but we are at least trying to establish solid foundations for long-term success, as per the simple principle that Employee #1` deserves as many benefits as Employee #500, if not more...
As far as hospitality is concerned, it is very much about re-introducing basic notions of service in everyday environments, even more so in a post-pandemic reality. Ok, maybe a little further than just "basic" because of who we are as individuals and where we had the chance to learn that business, but really not much more than that, which already surprises our guests beyond belief: serving drinks in proper mugs, cups and glassware for dine-in experiences, taking orders at tables whenever appropriate, offering a welcoming and convenient space for any occasion (including laptop-friendly in a WFM world...), and so on. You really have no idea how many positive comments we receive on a daily basis about how comfortable our guests feel in our space, regardless of the reasons why they visit us...
There is no time to waste, as you can tell below:
- Summer: opening at East River in Houston, TX
- Late summer/early fall: opening at Neuhoff in Nashville, TN (satellite store only)
- Fall: opening at RIW in Raleigh, NC
- Also in 2023: launch of our lifestyle program, such as the first pieces of merchandising
- Early 2024: opening of the main coffee shop at Neuhoff
- Q1 2024: opening of our roasting facility (most probably in Westchester County, right North of NYC), as well as a fantastic second location in Nashville we have been secretly working on for a few months
Design and pre-construction work are of course well under way in Houston, so opening targets can be met, while we are finalizing lease negotiations in Nashville and Raleigh.
*Forward-looking projections can't be guaranteed.
An excerpt from the playlist you can enjoy at our cafe in West Village, artistically curated by The Playlist Generation... Definitely a vibe, enjoy!
The Spirit of El Condor