Coming Along...

Wondering what we're working on lately? Currently we are working on creating a strong financial foundation, preparing for a move to North Carolina (goal date: summer 2013), slowly building up a collection of spooky items, and starting our foray into miniature models.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thank You

Since we have started talking about this endeavor, we have met with nothing but support and enthusiasm from pretty much everyone we have talked to. I can't express how much that warms my heart, knowing that there are so many people out there supporting our dream, rooting for us, and encouraging us.

One of the things that I am most excited about is the fact that people seem to be really EXCITED about this idea. Excited, interested, eager to visit. It seems to be something that the horror community as a whole would really enjoy, which is of course what I want. It's something *I* would enjoy, being a horror maven myself, and while it seems only natural that others with similar interests would want to congregate in a place like the one I imagine... it's one thing to believe that people would be interested, and another thing to hear person after person tell us "hey, I love that idea! That's really cool."

you all warm my twisted little heart <3

So, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has been encouraging us. Thank you to everyone who has been voting for us in the grant contest. Thank you to everyone who has started following our journey. Thank you to everyone who wants to come visit us once we're established. Thank you to everyone who has been spreading the word to their family and friends.

And a very, very special thank you to BJ-C at the phenomenal horror blog Day Of The Woman for inviting me to write a little article about my dream in the hopes of drumming up interest (and, if we're lucky, contest votes) in the horror community. Her blog is fantastic, it's one of my favorites, and I was so thrilled when she asked me to email her with a description of Spirits / Spookytown. She's definitely getting an invite to the Grand Opening party! :)

just a reminder to please click here to vote for our bar to win a grant from Mom Central! You can vote once daily now through April 15th. It would mean a lot to us. Thank you very much!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stage Fright

When I started dreaming about my grand vision of Spookytown years ago, I knew a day would eventually come when I would have to 'put up or shut up', as it were. I just always figured that day was down the road a ways. I don't recall if I mentioned it here before or not, but I sort of assumed this wouldn't be something that would come together for a while. When I first started dreaming about it, I was single, living in Chicago, working full time, paying off loads of college debt, and also dreaming about starting a family. It was there that I met my husband, and we started a family just a TAD quicker than we'd planned, and suddenly we were in the throes of new parenthood, both working full time. Then we found ourselves buying a house and moving to the south suburbs, STILL working full time, paying off debts and bills. Through it all I kept dreaming and planning, but couldn't quite get it all to gel together in a way that seemed like it would actually WORK for us for a few more years. There's always an excuse you can throw in your way, like a roadblock from hell: we have too many bills and not enough capital. We will never be able to sell this house in this market, so we're stuck here. Finding the right location seems totally impractical, AND we'd have to worry about schooling for the kids too. And on, and on, and on.

Finding a location that appeals to us both, pretty much by accident, and then speaking aloud to each other that we were both, as it happens, totally on board with this idea, hey, let's do this thing, seems like serendipity. Or, at the very least, the perfect opportunity. We can MAKE it be the right time because I truly believe none of our roadblocks are insurmountable.

And yet, while we shared it with close friends and family, and while I DID start a public blog on the matter, I hadn't pursued any kind of aggressive marketing stance. I didn't announce it to all of my facebook friends at large, for instance. I didn't email every single contact I have and tell them about it. An internet-wide marketing campaign was (and still IS) part of my master plan, but I wasn't quite ready to launch that yet.

Then I entered a contest yesterday to win a grant, and I figured that was my "put up or shut up" time. Since part of the judging process relies on public vote, I'd better put out all the stops and let everyone know. So I did. Yesterday. I DID facebook it to everyone on my list. I DID email all my contacts and ask them to vote (which you can do, once daily, by clicking the link above, by the way). It's OUT THERE.

I spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between "wildly excited" and "ready to poop my pants".

It occurred to me that I was feeling so weird largely out of stage fright. It's more than a little intimidating to not only tell the world that you HAVE a huge dream, but also that you are actively working to make it happen. We talk about the bar like it's a THING we have, and yet... we have nothing concrete. We have nothing but dreams, lots of books to read, and a half-formed business plan. There are so many steps between here and the bar that feeling a bit of stage fright over announcing our plans seems only natural. What if things fall through? What if the particular bar we have our eyes on gets sold to someone else, or has too much wrong with it for us to tackle right now, or is too expensive? What if, what if, what if?

So I felt all the 'what ifs' yesterday. I allowed myself to experience the feelings, to think about each one, to revel in the thrill of the amazonian task we are facing. Then I told all those what-ifs to fuck right off. Because I DO believe we can do this, and not a single ONE of them is a deal-breaker. Yup, even if we don't get the particular bar we have our eyes on. Because this dream existed long before I ever knew about that location. Because it's a whole huge world out there with lots of places that would be perfect for Spookytown. And because, more than anything, I believe in myself and my family, and I KNOW we can do it.

Welcome, those of you that are just joining the blog. I'm excited to have you along on our journey. If nothing else, it should be a really entertaining trip down the path of entrepreneurship!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Please vote for us!

My dear family and friends, you can help us build our funds for Spirits and Spookytown just by clicking a link to vote once daily!

I have entered us into a contest for a $2,000 grant from Mom Central. Part of the winning process relies on public votes. The contest runs through April 15th and you can vote once per day. The link to vote for us is here:
It should take you to my application, which is named "Spirits In Spookytown".

If you would please vote for us once a day, I would be eternally grateful (AND we will buy you a drink once the bar is open!).
If you would be willing to pass this email on to any of your friends and family, you will officially become one of my favorite people ever.

Thank you very much for your support!

Looking forward to seeing you in Spookytown!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


We are always interested in furthering our education, especially when it comes to preparing for this business! What books would you recommend we check out in relation to opening our spooky bar / restaurant? They can be business books, books on running bars, books on running restaurants, spooky books, inspiring books, anything you think might fit the bill! Feel free to take a look at our running to-do list as well; that might give you some idea of the steps we're working on and thus which books to recommend.

Currently we have and/or have read the following:

Thanks in advance for your recommendations! We really appreciate them!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Running To Do List

This is our running to-do list, in roughly chronological order, as we work towards this goal of opening our awesome bar. If anyone has experience in any of these areas, or suggestions on any of these items, or thinks we should add / move / remove anything, please feel free to share your thoughts with us!
get restaurant running book
get a book about business plans
make up a business plan (ch. 5)
research the area and competition
find a realtor
look into bartending school - cost and length of course
find advisors - accountants, lawyers, etc (ch. 3)
find out timelines for permits (ch. 3)
clean up our current house / pack stuff for moving
list current house for rent
set up temporary office / living space
get info on liquor license (ch. 3)
develop logos, trademarks and brand (ch. 4 and 6)
set up bank accounts
find funds (ch. 3)
buy the place
research computer sysems (ch. 12)
look into credit card processors
look into payroll systems 
set up utilities (BEFORE moving in or starting any construction)
complete papers for permits and licenses
find a contractor (ch. 4)
get construction going
review plans for BOH, FOH and exterior (ch. 6)
research equipment suppliers
source equipment (ch. 7)
work on manuals, job descriptions, etc
order needed equipment
order tables, chairs, etc
purchase POS system
start hiring process (ch. 6)
investigate phone systems and companies
finalize menus and hours
research pest control
review resumes
source food and drink suppliers
bartending school?
revise advertising and promotion plan
research music options
create a training schedule
order merchandise (to sell) and uniforms