Phase II.I- Visit Locations

Who Remembers The Blue Cafe in Downtown Long Beach?

…I remember The Blue Café in Downtown Long Beach!  Live bands, great dance floor, cool blue neon light that lit the patio, pool tables upstairs, and just a really cool vibe!!!

I was 18 when I moved to Long Beach, and 19 when my roommates and I first experienced the hipness of The Blue Café.  -Wait, how did I get in without an ID??!.  Hmmm, I honestly don’t remember!

I don’t know what happened to The Blue Café, but this old hot spot is now a vacant “not spot.”  It’s been abandoned for several years now just waiting for the right business!  Since they built the Promenade, it’s the last piece of property that has yet to be upgraded and leased.  Guess who put in an offer to take the 2nd floor of The Blue Café…!??!  -I DID!!  I mean, The Brass Lamp did!

7a0ba9abfa6b0ae789110cc5d94ef6ffOther offers that I’ve made didn’t pan out, but this one… this one here… is the one I really want to place all my bets on!  This is actually the very first spot I looked at when I first started dreaming about a book bar!  It wasn’t available for me back then, but enough time has gone by, the owner has softened, and now it’s just ripe for a bar like mine to come along!!  TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

I would love for The Brass Lamp to make new memories here!  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!!

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” –Dalai Lama

Another Step Closer

For those of you who haven’t gotten wind yet, I bring good news!  The bank finally approved my business plan and we’re a step closer to our Book Bar!  I say “our” because it’s your book bar, I’m just doing the heavy lifting for you…for us… and all those who want to read-write-DRINK!

Yesterday, I looked at a few more spaces for our awesome bar, and I fell in love with one particular spot.  I won’t disclose info on this location yet, but just take a gander and this space!  Incredible, right?!  Man, look at those high ceilings and those grand windows.  Gorgeous!!  Do you likey??

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I can already see you there sipping on your wine and nibbling on dessert while sharing profound conversations about life and love with your bestie.  Or reading 50 Shades of Grey while enjoying your shrimp cocktail paired with a chilled, crisp, white zinfandel.  Or perhaps partaking in a cappuccino after a late night movie with your squeeze.  Either way, my book bar is your book bar, and as long you keep it classy, you can do whatever you want!

I’m obviously very excited to be one step closer to having the book bar become a real live place, instead of this phantom (yet fantastic) vision parked in my head.  But truth be told, I’m a little nervous!  This is actually coming into fruition.  Who’s the one who’s going to pay the bills on this place, issue paychecks, and do all the reprimanding??  Me!  YIKES!

The fruit of my labor is actually ripening.  I’m going to build a book bar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not to toot my own horn…  but I obviously think that combining a glorified coffee shop, bookstore, and wine bar is simply genius (toot-toot).  Can I get a “Mmmhmmm, Sistah!”  I mean, does it not seem like the next evolutionary step to social society?  How is it that someone in So Cal hasn’t already created this!?  Well, luckily for me they didn’t because its gives me the chance to be the first!

b4c82558ad42d27840f5aab61362fe51Thank you all for your moral support and for sticking with me on this journey.  Moving forward, the tasks at hand will become even more challenging, but much like everything in life, it’s a process…or, it’s a box of chocolates.  Growing is pushing far beyond what you think your limits are.   So push People…push yourself and you’ll be surprised at how much you grow.

As Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Cheers ya’ll!

Austin-Inspired

I just got back from Austin, Texas (IF YOU’VE NEVER BEEN, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND VISITING!!!), and the city is just saturated with really cool restaurants, bars, and lounges.  Everything in downtown closes at 2am… and coffee shop-wine bars are a dime a dozen, so I was able to get some really great ideas!  Thank you, Austin!!

So, here’s the update on The Brass Lamp.  Last I wrote, I needed to pick a place for my book bar, right?  When I was in Austin, I received a “sign” that led me to choose the building in Long Beach that I last blogged about.  It’s next to the old Edison Theatre and is a few doors away from the Congregation Ale House!  So, yesterday I turned in my application along with my financial stuff!  Now, I pray for an approval!  I’ve made contact with a Architect and a General Contractor… good news is that both seem genuinely excited about my “book bar” idea; the bad news is that this project is going to cost me far more than I estimated!  Sooooooo…. anyone out there got money I can borrow!??!  If not, any money I can have?????

My loan has been looked at by 2 banks so far.  First bank liked the idea and the business plan, but felt that I didn’t have enough restaurant experience, so they passed. (I guess serving during the college years doesn’t count.)  -No problem, I can fix that by saying that I’ll be hiring a restaurant consultant and a coffee expert for the first 6 months of business to establish best-restaurant-practices!  -Here is where you can chime in with referrals or friends…!!!   The second bank is reviewing my loan request right now, and will be contacting me this week.  They liked the business concept, but are concerned with the fact that I’ve never started a business before.  So, pleeease send me positive thoughts that their phone call to me will be a big fat YES!  -BTW, how on earth are people suppose to start their own business if everyone says they won’t lend to someone who hasn’t started their own business before.  It makes no sense!  Someone care to explain that to me!?

Today, I met with a city Planner to discuss the permits, timeline for approval, etc., and I have good news to report!  Due to the location of this spot, I do not need a condition use permit; and am allowed to have alcohol beverage sales on premise!!  Woohoo!  So, that saves me a ton of trouble and time applying for those permits!  (Unlike my 2nd choice where I’d have to pay over $6K to see if I can have my business there.)

So, that’s the update thus far!!  I hope I get the loan and I hope I get the spot!!  I’m competing with already established restaurants that want the space, so we’ll see if the underdog can pull through!  I hope to have really great news for you for my next blog!!

In honor of football season, here’s my quote of the week:

P.S.  I’ll be visiting you again soon, Austin!  Thanks for the inspiration!  (I wish I brought a camera to capture all of your awesomeness!)

-Sam

Rub the Brass Lamp for Good Luck

Hi Er’body,

If you have a brass lamp, a brass trumpet, brass knuckles… anything brass, please give it a few good rubs for me for good luck!!!  I have just hit SEND to submit my SBA Loan Package to the banks!  Every day for the past few weeks, I have worked tirelessly to fine-tune the heck out of that thing!  It’s submitted now, and out of my hands!  There’s no going back!  I only have one chance to make an exceptional first impression!

If you’re interested in knowing, a SBA Loan Package consists of the following:  A Personal Financial Statement; 3 Years of Tax Returns, 3 Credit Reports, A Letter of the Loan Amount Request, Business Plan (I will never take the words “Business Plan” lightly ever again!!!  7 weeks of dedication rests in these 20 pages); and finally a very polished Resume displaying how one will be capable of opening, and maintaining a profitable business.

So, while I wait for the banks to review my worthiness, I will start drafting the build-out of my book bar and chip away at all the hurdles and ditches of city permits, licenses, zoning, inspections, etc…, and narrow down the 8 places to my top 2!!!

Here’s are a few pics of another possible home for The Brass Lamp.  2 stories, 5,200 sq. ft, (huge!!), red brick walls underneath (YES!!), 20 ft. ceilings (uh huh, keep going!), right next to The Congregation Ale House off of the Promenade in Long Beach.  Built in 1919!!!  Old buildings are so charming!!  (If they aren’t haunted!)

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I will need all the wishful thoughts, prayers, and many good-luck rubs in these next few weeks!  Thank you for your support!  CHEERS my friends!

 “Limitations live only in our minds.  But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” –Jamie Paolinetti