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Blimpy Burger (Ann Arbor) update

So the family that owns Blimpy Burgers is hoping to reopen (in spring?). They are crowdsourcing to help with start-up costs.
Info at:
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kra...

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  1. I hope this fails...*badly*. Raising funds like this is something that should be done by startup businesses, independent inventors or producers, charitable endeavors, and the like. A longstanding, very profitable, established entity has *no business* going around with hat in hand, wanting charity to start out in a new location. I don't see them offering up profit-sharing to their investors (which is *precisely* what they're asking for...), so it reeks of bad faith when they come around looking for a free handout. I'm sure there are tax subsidies available to them if they do work and research, but I hope people see this for exactly what it is: shameless pandering by a profitable business looking for a new place.

    They should be extremely ashamed of themselves for even having the thought, much less the application to actually do this. Very poor form.

    2 Replies
    1. re: boagman

      I have to agree somewhat. I don't want them to fail, but I absolutely hate they have a kickstarter (or whatever). What the hell is wrong with a small business loan?

      I've gotten updates from them through various social media and it just makes me feel more disgusted each time. They had a terrific product, but their behavior now completely undermines that. I get the feeling it is a younger generation, owner's daughter maybe, who is driving this. I'll go to blimpy's when they open, but I'm afraid their "begging" will leave a bad taste in my mouth that will prevent me from enjoying the new incarnation.

      1. re: charlesbois

        Upon hearing this, I wont be going. Will take my business elsewhere.

    2. I agree with both comments before this one.

      1. a long established business.
        it makes no sense they couldn't get a loan from local bank or investors.
        it was cash only so that makes one wonder...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

          > it was cash only so that makes one wonder ...

          Precisely.

          Their whole crowd-sourced funding initiative, smells.

        2. I miss the mixed fried veggies. That's all I'm saying.

          1. Did anyone else besides me happen to catch the portion of the text wherein it's noted that, unlike many other crowd sourcing fundraising efforts, *all* funds will be awarded at the end of the allotted time, whether they reach their goal or not? That's just very, *very* slimy. Somebody ought to forward this on to a news agency or four. Very bad form.

            3 Replies
            1. re: boagman

              the "updates" part of the webpage says something about maybe 1/2 the money going to the HSHV.

              1. re: boagman

                Woah that's pretty sketchy actually. So even if they don't open a burger joint they get to keep your money and go on a vacation???

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Yeah, that's what bugs me. I have no problem with people preselling meals to supporters as Lunch Room did. But this is not cool when there's still no set location.

              2. Was everyone so sour on the crowdsourcing undertaken by THE LUNCH ROOM to get their site up and running last year? (Didn't Tio's do likewise to assist in their reopening?)

                4 Replies
                1. re: trapani

                  I don't necessarily blame them for doing this, esp. when other businesses do it. But they could have been in business again much sooner I feel if they just got a lease and a loan. I feel a little played by all this faux fundraising drama (incessant pleas on social media, etc.)

                  As for Tios, omg I can't believe anyone donated. I find their new upscale scene soooo laughable. I miss the old Tios.

                  1. re: trapani

                    Didn't know about this, but the same principle applies, yes.

                    1. re: boagman

                      Some times an eatery so embodies a social scene/zeitgeist, it becomes more than a "business" to the patrons. Thus the support. (If there was crowdsourcing to revive Drake's or Eastern Accents, I would so be there.)

                      No doubt that explained the vegans who supported The Lunch Room's launch. To me, Blimpy's is a piece of an old, pre-chain Ann Arbor that I would like to see resuscitated. Thus I pledged 10 bucks (with a $10 cert for an eventual meal)--showing my BB love.

                      1. re: trapani

                        I get what you're trying to say. I do. That being said, this smacks of narcissism on their behalf. They are *not* hurting for money. They never have been. To me, it's as if McDonald's were to start crowdsourcing funds for new locations, or remodels, or whatever.

                        It'd be different if it was struggling financially, or new, or even trying something out-of-the-ordinary for them (think of the No. 9 Burgers guy trying to get a shop for himself). No, instead, what this is is rich people trying to cash in yet again because they're willing to sink *this low*.

                        And, just so you know, as someone who owns his own business: I'm hardly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment.

                        But this? This just reeks. It's akin to people living in Bloomfield Hills heading down to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen to be fed because, hey! Free meals!

                  2. So much to say about this..."investors" and "donors" are different things, I used a loan and my own savings to start my own business (but if you all want to send me $19,000 in exchange for some tees and stickers I'm game), is there no other collateral to get a loan? Whatever, not my thing. I've given to friends' campaigns for their art project or movie but won't to this.

                    1. As an outsider, although growing up in Ann Arbor, I am ambivalent about this. My understanding is that Krazy Jim's (none of us called it Blimpy Burgers in the 60s) family sold out to the University for a bundle. If my family is correct they owned the whole block and made quite a pretty penny on it. The young woman instituting the crowdsourcing financing belongs to a family that has owned the business since 1993. Restaurant profit margins are not that great - nothing like the real estate gains Krazy Jim's family would have made since 1953. Thus so I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. I could be wrong. It may just be that I have fond memories of triple cheese blimpies in the early 70s and probably met her parents. I am pretty sure they do not have millions having run a hamburger joint for 21 years. Although I am often wrong.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ebethsdad

                        Sounds like the current owner was leasing from the original Crazy Jim family that "owned the block" and made a mint. As to the current owners ability to handle finances or get a loan, I cannot speak.

                        http://www.aadl.org/node/253781

                      2. Some people measure their kid's growth with pencil marks on a doorframe. In my case it was how many BB patties he could eat. As a toddler, he started with a single. The BB promise of a tootsie-pop encouraged him to eat up. Over the years he made it to a quint. At 17, he's grown enough to know that's not so smart in the long run--he last had a quad.
                        I love this place--what can I say?

                          1. From what I heard from someone that kind of knows a little more than the average Joe is that they were looking at getting a new spot, but the Landlord knows the owner is a dunce with Cash. He does not want to rent to a business that he has to shakedown once a month to get paid. The burgers were good but its time to let that ship sail. If land lords know this guys sucks with money the banks surely will to.

                            1. Just announced that blimpy burgers will go in the 300 block of Ashley, near Fleetwood. Opening in June hopefully.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: charlesbois

                                Here is a story link.

                                http://www.mlive.com/business/ann-arb...

                                My concern about the new location is that it is downtown, one block west of Main, a 15-20 minute walk from campus.

                                1. re: kmcarr

                                  Is there sufficient student housing nearby, for them to survive?

                                  1. re: rainsux

                                    There are some grad students, but that's not really a student part of town. There are some bars in the area that draw students, though, like the Circus and the new Old German. And there are apartment buildings with a lot of 20-somethings. I don't think Blimpyburger was ever a real student hangout—it was always a mix. In a high-rent downtown, that street is probably one of the cheaper places around. The space is right next to the notorious Fleetwood Diner, and who knows, the pair could have a kind of hole-in-the-wall synergy.

                                    1. re: Jim M

                                      Maybe the Fleetwood and Blimpy's could create some fusion cuisine; a quad topped with hippy hash. :-0

                                    2. re: rainsux

                                      Let's hope not. I'm actually rooting *against* them on general principle. You know, if they just hadn't done that stupid crowdsourcing thing, I'd be fine with them. When they go around hat-in-hand to support an already-very-profitable business, that's a problem.

                                      1. re: boagman

                                        Completely agree about the crowdsourcing thing as well but I won't condemn them for it.
                                        I hope they get past it and there's no bad karma. It's one of my favourite burger joints anywhere. Here's hoping they can keep the same vibe.

                                        DT

                                    3. re: kmcarr

                                      What happened to Eastern Flame? Did it go out of business or move? I've never been but it was my husband's favorite late night eat.

                                      Kind of an odd place for them to put the new Blimpy. Sort of thought it would be closer to the stadium.

                                    4. re: charlesbois

                                      It's slated to open by the end of next week in its new location. Good news is they will now accept credit and debit cards.

                                      https://www.michigandaily.com/news/bl...

                                      1. re: mi2ca2mi

                                        Thanks for the update. And good news about accepting credit/debit! I like that.

                                        1. re: mi2ca2mi

                                          So, where'd they get the money for accepting credit cards and debit cards? I mean, they were SO CASH POOR that they had to ask for crowdsourcing, and kept every dime.

                                          Greedy, ugly bastards. I'm hardly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment, but I hope they fail miserably.