balanbooks is an apartment-based online bookstore run by grads wishing to open retail, and a vegan cafe near the University of Denver
About this project
We’re the team at balanbooks and we’re trying to move from an online bookstore (balanbooks.com) run in our living rooms into a beautiful retail bookstore near the University of Denver, with an organic vegan cafe. With your help, we can develop a bookstore and cafe together.
We were born a few months ago and our work has continued to expand ever since. On a whim, we decided to bring the bookstore to Denver PrideFest where we learned we are the first organization of our kind (feminist and queer) since 1986. With this crazy revelation, we decided to continue our expansion and move from living room to bookstore cafe and we’re coming for dominating the online space. Everyone kept asking, “Where’s the bookstore!?” Well, here it is!
Initially, we are seeking $15,000 to develop our bookstore cafe in Denver, Colorado. We will utilize these funds to develop the vegan cafe and purchase used equipment upon which we will be able to further develop our vegan services. As well, we will utilize the funds to develop the bookstore section which will be elegantl-stocked with our current books, and others necessary to fulfill to requirements of the students. The bookstore cafe would allow us to have a center of operations in time for the beginning of fall quarter at the University of Denver for 2016 as well as allow us to build upon the balanbooks brand and the success we have as entrepreneurs under twenty-five at Pride Festivals across the nation. In continuing to build on the balanbooks brand and the online bookstore, we intend build independently-managed balanShelves across the nation, and provide our vegan and organic foods across the United States. The base of operations will allow us to fulfill retail and online orders, develop an organizing space for critical identities and critical theories, and expand our vegan food products and bookstore services.
After the initial center of operations phase of the bookstore, and with any additional funding we receive, we seek to build balanShelves across the nation in order to be able to provide a premium same-day and two-day fulfillment option for both vegan foods and our books, as well as employ locals in major cities. As we expand the balanShelves, and after the bookstore is complete, we will be able to offer premium same-day delivery and two-day delivery on our products from the Denver location, and our balanShelves locations across the U.S. The initial cities we seek to expand to are Portland, Oregon; Chicago, Illinois; Pittsburgh, PA; New York City, NY; San Diego, CA; Oakland, CA; Albuquerque, NM. When we meet the Kickstarter goal, some of the additional proceeds will be utilized to allow us to expand the balanShelves into these cities and allow us to offer services more extensive than any other online bookstore.
I’m alan brozovich, I’m twenty-four and I’m the Executive Director of balanbooks. My team and I had such success with selling our books out of a booth at Denver PrideFest that we wish to develop a retail location, and to utilize our skills as baristas and bakers to open a bookstore with a cafe. Alan Brozovich is a decorated barista and coffee shop manager. As well, he founded balanbooks two months ago and is currently the executive director. Food runs deep with Alan. He is inspired by his familial roots which include several family restaurants, and a family catering company. As well, he has been vegan for over 5 years now. Writing on veganism and preparing a variety of recipes over the last five years. Including the vegan seitan roast featured below.
From the beginning of our relationship with the bookstore, and as baristas, we have all had a variety of experiences. With the opportunity to open the bookstore and cafe, we would be able to produce house-made organic coffee syrups, and would utilize our connection to vegan cooking to produce all of our organic non-dairy milks in-house for our coffee production.
In our bakery, we want to ensure that all components become Vegan compliant within the first year. We have experience as vegan bakers turning our family recipes vegan for the last several years, and James is formerly a bagel baker. Although we may not be able to be certified Vegan or Organic at the beginning, the income stream we develop from the money used to ensure that our equipment eventually becomes compliant with these certifications. Until we can become certified Vegan and Organic, we promise our raw food products will be environmentally-friendly, organic, vegan and comply with some indicators of reliable labor sourcing during the first year.
James Johnston is our finance and bakery guy. He is a graduate of the University of Denver and has been vegan for 3 years. James prepares a variety of vegan baked goods including cookies, cakes, and pies, and has experience as a bagel baker and sandwich prep guy; both very useful skills in the production and development of a cafe. As well, he is quite the expert on cuisine from New Mexico.
Matthew Swisher of Swisher Studios is the balanbooks Art and Media director. He is responsible for the oversight of many of our book marks, and visual productions. He is a graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Denver. Matthew is a former manager of a cafe featuring full-service dining and is currently a barista and bartender.
Nikol Werner is currently a member of the coffee roaster’s guild, and a barista. She has roasted coffee for nearly a year, and has been a barista for over 6 years. She would be able to develop our eventual coffee roasting operation, and would be responsible for acquisition of coffee.
Risks and challenges
We expect every possible obstacle including the health department. Our experiences with our current coffee shops, and our experience as a bookstore will allow us utilize our own skills, and utilize the skills of the many networks we have developed in our several years in Denver.
We are going to attempt to build a cafe on a pretty limited budget, and acquire a retail space to operate in. This is a pretty tall order, but any amount we are able to raise at our goal will go toward the development of a solid retail establishment given that we already are selling products.