A Business 101 Hail Mary: 500 Benjamins or Bust

February 17, 2010

I get a lot of emails from folks in the food and wine business, but this letter recently caught my eye. It was addressed to me, but I have a feeling it was simply a mass email campaign. Still, you can't help but feel for the guy:

"Dear Steve,
I have done everything I can possibly imagine to help Drinks Over Dearborn weather our country's current financial situation, but I'm now out of money, out of credit, and out of time. We simply can not continue to go forward in the state we are in financially, and there is still no money available from banks or the SBA for a small alcohol-related business from any of the many sources I've tapped in the last few weeks.
That said, here's my last-ditch plan to keep Drinks Over Dearborn going:
I'm calling it the "500 Benjamins or Bust" campaign. You see, like most small businesses out there, we have assets but need cash flow desperately. That's where we once again need your help in a very specific way."

Their plan is to have 500 people start an account at Drinks over Dearborn with just $100, and it has to happen by 5 p.m. on‚  February 28th. They have approximately $50,000 in inventory‚ in the store, which would guarantee you would get your money's worth in product whenever you're ready to shop, be it online or in-person. The‚ $100 can be redeemed for whatever you'd like - beverages, classes, events, glasses, shipping a liquid gift across the country, etc. A couple of other incentives:

  • 5% discount on all items in the store, no minimum
  • 10% off all classes in the store
  • Access to special events in the store that will be held only for 500 Benjamins participators

If you want to put more into your account, you are more than welcome‚ to do so. DoD won't be processing any credit cards or cashing any checks until Monday, March 1, and then only if they get all 500 Benjamins in place. If they don't, you pay nothing. But the sad part of that is, then they'll have no choice but to close‚ their doors effective Friday, March 5 at 9 p.m.

They will also be hosting a 24-hour webcast telethon, 1970's Jerry Lewis-style, live from Drinks Over Dearborn starting at 5 p.m.‚ on Saturday, February 27 and ending at 5 p.m.‚ on February 28.

If you're interested in helping them out, go here:

 http://store.drinksoverdearborn.com/500benjamins.

Again, nothing will be processed until‚ they have all 500, because‚ they need all of them to stay open.

Here's wishing them the luck of Bacchus. Cheers.