Its difficult to put into words how grateful we are for every contribution to our Crowdfunding campaign for our very own Eat Sleep Cycle Girona cycling café. In this blog Eat Sleep Cycle Founder Lee reveals how the project really would not be possible without your help.
I want to rewind to three years ago, I sat on the sunny terrace outside our bike shop after a hard days work dreaming of having our own Eat Sleep Cycle café, and wondering whether it would ever come to fruition. It seems that dreams really can come true with enough hard work and support.
Whilst the circumstances that made the premises for the café available were incredibly sad, and we’ll miss our neighbours, we remain friends with the previous owner and he has promised to teach us his special “Bravas” recipe so we can keep this tradition. I can confirm that they are the best “Bravas” in town!
With the café just next door to our own Eat Sleep Cycle shop, it is the perfect location for pre and post ride food, and drinks. From breakfast through to evening tapas.
Securing The Café
Negotiating a rental contract in Spain is a challenging affair especially in the middle of a COVID pandemic. In Girona more than a quarter of local shops are closed down, high street retail and hospitality has been hit really hard. Agreeing a fair price, including some allowances for a COVID relapse and getting all that into a legal contract in Catalan (the local language) was our first challenge. Luckily, the owner, Marina is a lovely 82 year old lady (who originally ran a butchers in the premises many years ago) and her daughters helped with the process. We quickly became friends with the family!
Signing the contract was a big moment for us, however knowing what lay ahead we weren’t about to pop the Champaign just yet. In Girona the Barri Vell or “Old Town” is heavily protected by rules and regulations. This is really important to conserve the beautiful historic buildings and feeling the city has. So the first step is to find the original drawings of the building. There is a loophole in that if you change nothing from these drawings you don’t then need to meet any the modern building regulations. If you change one thing, you have to meet ALL of them. This can mean digging out floors to meet minimum ceiling heights and other unrealistic interventions that would make the project unviable. There are just some things in these old buildings that can’t be done!
We laid down some minimum requirements including disabled toilet access, something we can not offer in our existing shop and an absolute must for us. Then the fun started with ceiling heights, door widths, number of doors and many other building requirements. We are lucky to benefit from talented local architect Roser (Visual Architecture) and talented local engineer Josep. Josep has connections in the Town Hall, Roser makes the plans and is managing the project. Together they spent weeks re-drawing, negotiating with the specialists in the Town Hall. FInally we arrived at a project they could accept and it gets submitted. From there the waiting starts!
So How Much Will The Project Cost?
Building a restaurant is an expensive game. We quickly realised that professional industrial kitchens are on another level of quality and expense when compared to conventional kitchens.
The disabled toilet would add significant expense and we also wanted to raise the ceilings as much as physically possible which means replacing the entire heating and cooling system. Once we add in all the finishing touches, the final bill gets close to €200k. The % in our crowdfunding infographic are broadly accurate.
How Do We Intend To Pay For The Project?
Whilst our retail business has benefited from the cycling boom after COVID, our tours leg took a huge hit last year. When we started speaking with banks they were asking for profits to lend us money, something that almost seemed impossible at the end of last year. Through the hard work of our team we managed to pull off the impossible the first quarter of this year and achieve a positive result. Putting this in front of the banks was a proud moment, against all the odds turning it around and giving them what they asked for.
To spread the risk we spoke to several banks, one said no and 2 said yes, they wanted to support and really believed in the project. It was necessary to prepare detailed business plans and financial strategies to gain approval. They would be helping with parts of the project but not all of it!
This is where the crowdfunding campaign comes in. This project really would not be possible without your support. The money from the campaign makes up the difference to the total cost of the project, and we are hoping to raise up to €30k which is the amount to make sure we can cover all the expenses.
Want to support our café crowdfunding campaign?
The campaign is now live! Our new sustainable cycling jersey, among other rewards, are now available to order for a limited time only via our café crowdfunding campaign.
Join The Team
You might have noticed – Eat Sleep Cycle is expanding and we’re looking for fellow cycling fanatics to join us as we enter our next phase as a cycling tour business, bike shop, bike rental centre and now, café! If you want to join us, then take a look at our available roles.
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