(WSB photo: The Westy’s bar takes shape)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s become almost routine for new enterprises to do some crowdfunding – asking friends, family, online supporters to chip in to help cover startup costs. The Westy Sports and Spirits, under construction at 7908 35th SW in Westwood, is joining that crowd – but not via the usual donation drive.
The Westy has just become the 15th area enterprise to launch a drive via Community Sourced Capital – which you might call crowd-loaning instead of crowdfunding. And unlike the major donation-type crowdfunding sites, CSC is based in Seattle (see who else it’s worked with).
After hearing about The Westy’s campaign on Thursday, we returned to the under-construction space Friday afternoon to check in with its proprietors.
When we spoke with Paul Ritums, JP Vidican, and Shane Whittall last August, they had hoped to open their sports bar/restaurant before 2013 was over, but as seems to happen with the majority of new businesses requiring buildout, it’s just taking longer. They’re excited to have all their permits and licenses now – liquor license included.
Opening The Westy is NOT contingent on raising this money, its owners stress. But the extras it would make possible will make the space even nicer than they have planned, if it comes through, with added touches including more indoor brick. Community Sourced Capital is an all-or-nothing campaign, so they’ve set levels starting at $20,000, and they’re already as of this writing about a quarter of the way there. If the community buys in, The Westy will be “that much better,” says Ritums. He and his business partners say West Seattle is all about local, small business, it’s the perfect fit.
As they continue putting together The Westy’s interior, the bar has taken shape as centerpiece of the 35th-fronting downstairs (top photo looks westward toward the front door). Reclaimed wooden beams from Snohomish County are being put into service for its top – some are still waiting to be finished and added, like the one shown off here by Paul:
Behind the bar, two repurposed doors await installation as the sliding gateway to the private dining area in the back.
The concrete floor and exposed wood beams overhead – all previously hidden and now uncovered, as noted in our previous report – will be part of an industrial-style interior, including metal tables. The block wall on the north side will be painted for some warmth. Not only are they repurposing materials and buying as many recycled components as they can, they also have recycled what they can’t use, like concrete that was broken up as they reshaped the space.
Aside from the decision to seek community microloans, the plan hasn’t changed. Eighteen screens, three sound zones; a grand staircase down to the bar area, from the dining areas behind it. They’re hoping they have a few months of work left, at most – depending on the outcome of some extra electrical work they just discovered the need for – until they can open. And in the shorter run, the CSC campaign: “People are interested in feeling like they’re a part of getting a small business off the ground.”
You can find out about it, and participate in it if you choose to, by going here and “buying a square” to start. “It’s a loan, not with interest – you put $50 in, you’ll get $50 out,” says Ritums. “And it’ll be fully used.”
If they have reached at least $20,000 by the end of the month, their dream will have those extra features. They’re confident it will. And by the way, if you find yourself in the area, they’re keeping the door open while working, as often as they can – join the neighbors who have poked their heads in to say hi, see what’s up, and see a dream take shape.