3 Little Pigs Kickstarter “Help us build a space where the community can all gather to eat, meet, learn, and make great food!”

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5111 Georgia Ave, NW

From 3 Little Pigs kickstarter page:

“We have been in business for three years now, doing business out of two thirds of our building. We have been waiting to invest in the third floor until we knew that we had the right idea. Our team spent late nights talking about ideas for the space – selling coffee and doughnuts, renting the space out as offices, a full service restaurant, all the way to using the space to offer mail order services. But, nothing felt quite right, so we stayed committed to searching for the right decision – one that sparked enthusiasm in everyone.

From the day we came up with the idea for Three Little Pigs, we knew we wanted to work to become a destination. After reading about “third places”, written about in The Good Great Place by Ray Oldenburg, we realized that to become the destination we wanted to become, we needed to create a place where the community comes together.

That is what we are building. We are building a place where we can host themed dinners, private luncheons, wedding showers, large scale butchery classes, food and wine tastings, classes on all types of food, even football Sundays. This is a place for all of the great people in our community to meet and have a great time!

Your help will go towards the much needed tables, chairs, doors, and the equipment and tools we need to teach and host our guests. We are investing our money to pay for the renovations, but that money will only get us a blank canvas – we need your help so we can get the paint, too. 15k is our goal, but the more we can raise the more we can invest into special equipment and other needs to make this event space awesome!”

Contribute here.

90 Comment

  • Have to say — and I consider myself capitalist to the core — that the concept of donating money to for-profit enterprises is really weird to me. People can do with their money as they wish, but this is something I really struggle to wrap my head around.

    • Me too, I don’t understand why people would give their money to a for profit company for free. If I’m going to invest in your company I should get a share of the profits, or if you have such a good business idea wouldn’t a bank give you a loan? It just seems like a waste of money to me, but YMMV.

      • Wholeheartedly agree

        Is their business so unsucessful after 3 years that they can’t do what adults do and go to a bank for a loan?

        The whole for-profit kickstarter is about as lazy and juvenile as it gets.

      • Accountering

        I am a big +1 here. I work hard for my money, and the idea of donating it to a non-profit is the height of insanity. I happily spend it on overpriced beer and other fun things, but if you want my cash, you need to earn it in some way shape or form.

      • Maybe because they want to support a local business? Maybe because large commercial banks would rather plow their money into exotic derivatives than issue loans to small businesses?

    • Two responses re: Kickstarter in general. One, usually there is compensation for donating–a product sample before the business opens, some cool swag, etc. Two, the idea is that you help bring to market a product or service that, if not for your help, might not otherwise be available. So, for instance, if there is a product I want in my neighborhood, I’d gladly donate $50 to get a company off the ground to provide that product. Sometimes people just don’t have a ton of cash on hand to get things going.

      • ” Two, the idea is that you help bring to market a product or service that, if not for your help, might not otherwise be available”

        That was the carrot the first time they used kickstarter to open their business, but that one works once. Their business is open. What possible benefit to the neighborhood, or those living in it, is there to give this for-profit more money, so it can open another for-profit service line to its business?

        • Huh? The reasoning is the same the second time around. A business wants to offer something that might not otherwise be available, and for that it needs some money up front to get it going. To me the logic works whether it’s a new business or an existing business.

      • PDMtP

        That’s how I think of it. I’ve done it a couple of times because I know the people and like the concept, they’re offering something I think is cool, and I’m willing to pay a little extra to help them out. Do I think I’m buying goodwill at a business where I’d like to have goodwill? Yep; nothing wrong with that.

    • justinbc

      While I generally agree, I will say that of the for-profit kickstarter proposals I’ve seen this one has some of the best perks offered. Most of the time they’re just laughably useless tchotchkes , but at least they’re giving away actual product (granted the price per pound ROI is absurd, but so are many of their normal prices anyway).

      • hahah.. +1 – their normal prices should come with a receipt for portions deductible to charity. Great meat though and really nice service.

    • If they are successful at raising capital, by whatever means necessary, then it’s capitalism to the core.

  • Oh, so it’s going to be a charitable endeavor? Free space for people who need space, and an open club-house?

    No? It’s going to be for rent, a money-maker for the owners? Funded by us TWICE? No.

  • I have a REALLY hard time donating money to a for profit business.

  • Hahahahahahahah, yea guys, you’re not getting a penny from me other than for actual services rendered. Good try?

  • Emilie504

    That’s a lot of very different uses for one space, I wonder how they will decorate it.

  • Donors get some stuff if they give money, but what they are getting doesn’t seem worth it. A plaque? Really? Nothing is any good until the $30 mark, and even then you only get a pound of bacon. They are probably writing off the food that they are giving out, so make it a better deal and give more than that.

    • $30 for a pound of bacon? Sounds about right for this outfit.

      Lucky for my wallet, the two times I went in, I left without buying anything because the gal behind the counter ignored me with such will and determination that I ran out of time.

      But hey. Community, amirite??

      • I had the exact same experience. And I was the ONLY customer in there. I couldn’t believe it.

    • Not having seen the financials, I am thinking TLP would have difficulty getting a loan because they are asking for too small a loan. In the US most banks and credit unions will not provide a loan for less than $100,000 without a ton of collateral and pristine credit. And most banks and credit unions will not lend less than $50,000 at all as it will cost more to manage the loan than the interest they will receive. Also, these microloans (less than $50,000) are carrying interest rates between 12-24%.

      • justinbc

        Or if you’re the owner you could just take out a HELOC (assuming you own your home) at 4-5%. Hell even my Discover card limit is higher than this and the APR is only 13%.

        • Putting up your house as collateral for expanding your business sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. Even worse than putting it on a credit card, which isn’t a great idea, either.

          • justinbc

            Whether it’s a good idea or bad idea really isn’t my concern when addressing the issue the previous poster raised about a bank not lending them money. And, FWIW, it happens quite a lot.

          • sorry, it’s not a terrible idea – it’s just the way it’s done. For many small businesses starting out, there is no choice but to put up a personal guarantee. I remember I had to do it for the first commerce lease I signed. Hey if you believe in your business, then you do what it takes.

          • HELOC’s is a viable option if the business is a sole proprietorship because the risk/reward belongs only to the owner. If the business is an LLC or other type of partnership then the HELOC may be your best bet (there is a lot of legal ramifications).

            The other issue with HELOC’s is they can be inflexible and are often placed at the top of the line if the business becomes delinquent. Meaning the HELOC might have to be paid off before the business mortgage or other immediate need debts.

  • Didn’t they just get a Great Streets Grant too?

  • How many times did they need to rewrite this to sound like something that is being done for the community, rather than as a business plan to make profit? Come on guys.

    • Regardless of how many times they rewrote it, they didn’t succeed. I kept waiting for more specifics about how this is “for the community,” and when they didn’t come, it became pretty obvious: “Oh, right. This is rental space.”

  • Could you please donate some $$ so that I can build my dream home in Bloomingdale? Everyone who donates get a free tour when the house is finished. What you get from it is a free tour and a beautiful house in the community :-)

  • This place is in a bad location. I drive past this place everyday and its not booming from what I can see from the outside. I can see this place flourish probably down U st or in G-town. Oh yeah and no money from me either. Break me off a slab of some baby back ribs then we can talk

  • I understand that business is tough in the restaurant/catering/retail (or whatever combo of the 3 industries these folks are going for-none of the descriptions really said clearly.) But there are enough small business resources available that asking your patrons to fund your expansion ideas strikes me as an odd choice.

  • The hubbie went by there this weekend. The bacon was delicious but…really really salty. Like crazy salty compared to store bought bacon.

  • They’re building a place to host dinners, classes, tastings etc so they can make more money. Why in the world would I want to give them money so they can expand their business? This fundraising campaign makes me less inclined to support them.

  • I get the general backlash against Kickstarter as project financier, but in fairness, operations like 3LP are pretty solidly locked out of traditional business financing, i.e. Bank of America isn’t champing at the bit to give them favorable long-term debt (remember this whenever someone tries to tell you that increased banking regulation and margin requirements will curtail lending and hurt small businesses). I suppose people can argue that Kickstarter should function like straight equity financing, where you get an actual ownership stake in the business, but that honestly strikes me as in no one’s interest (it would bring in securities regulations, have tax implications for donors, would make dissolution and bankruptcy much harder, etc.) Finally, and in contrast to comments I’ve made about the “plight” of beer distributors who can no longer get as much Hopslam as Giant, I also like Kickstarter as a way to support local businesses like 3LP, which to me personally is the best butcher shop in the entire world.

    I guess the language 3LP uses is a little sanctimonious; it’s not going to be a “community space” by any stretch of that definition, but honestly, even Popville commenters can be fucking adults about this. You cretins are awfully self-congratulatory about figuring out the “scam” here and snarkily explaining how well you’ve avoided being snookered, as if the concept of paying extra for a tray of charcuterie that will also help a favorite local business do better is some sort of criminal enterprise.

    • “I guess the language 3LP uses is a little sanctimonious; it’s not going to be a “community space” by any stretch of that definition, but honestly, even Popville commenters can be fucking adults about this. You cretins are awfully self-congratulatory about figuring out the “scam” here and snarkily explaining how well you’ve avoided being snookered, as if the concept of paying extra for a tray of charcuterie that will also help a favorite local business do better is some sort of criminal enterprise.”

      This is awesome.

      • An excellent butcher near Bondi Beach? In the interests of accuracy, I should definitely visit here to make a proper comparison.

    • I just used a Ctrl-F word search and the only person using the word “scam” here is you. I think most people just find it an odd way of doing business.

      • Even better, the passive-aggressive observation that this is “odd” or “weird”. Kickstarter is a well-established platform whereby you donate money to a business/project/concept in exchange for whatever item/experience/recompense is listed below the amount. The business’s motivation is to obtain financing for whatever project it’s listing on the page, while the donors’ motivations can vary from getting whatever the recompense is, to the general warm feeling of supporting a project or business that fits with their values.

        It’s extremely straightforward.

        • Just because Kickstarter is a well-established platform doesn’t mean it is not an odd way to get financing for creating or expanding a for profit business. But ultimately that’s between the business owner and the people who choose to (or choose not to) fund the business.

          • No, that’s precisely what makes it not “odd.” The goals and motivations of all parties are easy to understand, and the platform that facilitates their transaction is well-known, and frequently used by other similar businesses to accomplish the same thing.

          • I find the goals and motivations of those wanting money to be easy to understand — free money! — I just have a harder time with those who give it to them. Judging by some of the other comments here, I’m not exactly the Lone Ranger on that.

      • Agreed. A business isn’t immune to criticism simply because it’s “locally-owned.” It should sink or swim on its own merits. TLP’s service is slow and inattentive — they can barely handle the demands of their current space. It would be wiser for them to grow slowly through reinvested profits (and improve their lackluster customer service) than burden themselves with another half-assed set of services.

        • It’s not immune to criticism, there’s just no legitimate criticism that’s been raised here, by you or anyone else in this thread. Setting your John Galt act aside, this is a business sinking or swimming on its own merits, but appealing to potential sources of funding through both the quality of its existing product, and it’s plans for the future.

          Also, 3LP’s service is neither slow nor inattentive – they make every order by hand at the time the person orders it. I’d suggest you either head over to Safeway’s deli counter for faster service, or maybe adjust your unreasonable expectations about the speed of service to which you’re entitled. I happen to think that waiting a few extra minutes for the best pulled pork sandwich this side of North Carolina or hand-made sausages that generally aren’t available in the US is a good use of my time. But who knows, maybe your time is just that much more valuable…

          • Come on now. I’ll give you that the food is outstanding but service their is slower than the molasses they put in their BBQ sauce. Do they not smoke the brisket until I place my order? Killing time while they make my sandwich is like waiting for Muriel Bowser to get tough on crime.

          • I’d argue that the two things are closely related in this instance. They don’t keep sandwich meats pre-cut in a chafing tray, pre-toast or pre-cut bread, or pre-package sausages. I personally think the difference in quality in discernible, and well-worth the extra time. I wouldn’t stop in for a quick bite on the way to a meeting, but you know that going in.

          • Advising measured growth for a young company in a developing neighborhood that might not be able to sustain a larger venture sure is some Jon-Galt-level shit, you pegged me. And I’m alone in finding their service lackluster, there certainly aren’t two other comments asserting the same thing on this very page.

            Given that TLP has issued this Kickstarter despite receiving a $62k grant from the Great Streets fund for the same purpose, I deeply question the business capabilities of the owners. You’re welcome to give them more money beyond what you supply through your patronage, but don’t be surprised if TLP goes pig-belly-up at some point in the future.

          • Derek, you sound really bitter, though I’m not sure why. Was this kickstarter thing your idea or something?

          • Not bitter, just got a bit fed up after the 50th or 60th asinine comment in this thread that intimated some sort of vague seediness or oozed self-satisfaction. POPville commenters can occasionally miss the mark, but man, this thread really takes the cake for smug idiocy.

          • You’re also proving my point by admitting that the service is slow. If TLP can’t hire someone to cut the bread while someone else slices the meat (and, ideally, a third person takes orders/staffs the register), they’re probably not making enough revenue and/or getting enough business to justify extra hands. Expanding the business through Kickstarter donations (let’s face it, that’s what it is) when one part of it is already understaffed is stupid. They should focus on the core business and improve it before pursuing additional revenue streams. Also, if you can’t use $62k in one year to put together a serviceable learning space, at least, you’re doing something wrong. While that space might not be everything you want, but it would at least provide a test case for providing additional services in the realm of classes, catering, etc.

        • Advising measured growth for a young business in a still-developing neighborhood that might be incapable of sustaining its new venture sure is some Jon-Galt-level analysis, you pegged me. And there certainly aren’t three other comments affirming TLP’s lackluster customer service.

          Given that TLP issued this Kickstarter despite receiving a $62k grant from the Great Streets fund for the same purpose in 2013, I deeply question the capabilities of the business owners. You’re perfectly welcome to provide them with money beyond your mere patronage, but don’t be surprised if TLP goes pig-belly-up in the future through blatant mismanagement.

          • #commentfail

          • I bet he’d rather be surprised and disappointed by the loss of something he likes, than go around like a smug, condescending know-it-all like you. If only this business had sought out your advice.

            Clearly, seeking crowd-funding for an expansion is the surest sign of deep financial distress and flagrant managerial malfeasance (criminal misappropriation, even?) I expect a congressional investigation to follow shortly.

          • LOL a congressional investigation, you’re hilarious!!! I also liked that bit about bailouts downthread. You should totally host the next White House Correspondents dinner. Do you have any jokes about Hillary or how Obama TALKS LIKE THIS and Bush TALKED LIKE THAT!?

    • Ha ha, well said. Totally agree with this. I get why some people (like me!) don’t want to contribute, but I don’t get why so many have to pretend it’s some shady racket that opposes all the basic foundations of America, freedom, liberty, and sanity.

    • Small businesses like this don’t need to go the route of traditional business financing. They are not asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars; they are looking for $15,000. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that they could find one angel investor to come on as a partner – or more likely, a limited partner – in exchange for 15 grand. Or maybe 3 investors coming in at 5 grand a piece; or 15 friends who kick in $1000 a piece.
      The main reason would be entrepeneurs go the crowdfunding route is so they don’t have to share profits with new investors. You get funding with few strings attached. And the main string you don’t have to worry about is sharing profits. It’s not about trying to avoid having more cooks in the kitchen, more investors to answer to. You can easily structure an investment so that certain partners have pretty much no say in how the operation is run.
      I don’t begrudge these folks their decision to pursue funding this way. And since I have never been to their shop, I don’t have anything snarly to say about the product – though a couple of foodie friends that have been there have said good things.

      • The thing is, Kickstarter doesn’t even raise a lot of money for a project after it accounts for the “prizes” for contributors. In that regard, it’s more about getting people who care about the project to buy into the enterprise, feel invested in its success, etc. Generally this makes sense for a local business that wants to develop the sense of community in an underdeveloped neighborhood. They may not make a ton of money, but they’ll get contributors to want to keep up with how the space develops. That’s more than can be said about one angel investor.

    • ” 3LP are pretty solidly locked out of traditional business financing”

      Completely and utterly false. All the mainstreet lenders, BofA, PNC, Wells Fargo have small business loan programs that start at the 20-25K amount with incredibly low rates and a variety of pay back terms.

      How many people in DC are locked out of “traditional mortgage financing”, yet if someone posted on PoP about a kickstarter to buy them a house, the ridicule would be swift and viscious (rightfully so).

      There are a ton of options for these folks. The issue is none of them are “free” like kickstarter is.

      • Wow, you definitely don’t work in any industry with any involvement in credit markets, do you?

        http://hbswk.hbs.edu/images/site/Mills-1-Figure-4.png
        http://hbswk.hbs.edu/images/site/Mills-1-Figure-2.png
        http://hbswk.hbs.edu/images/site/Mills-1-Figure-5.png

        You can definitely still get a small business loan if you’re opening a McDonalds franchise, and if you’re willing/able to pay 1% of the total loan in closing costs, and if you can stomach an interest rate .1% below the state usury rate, and if you’re willing to have the bank dictate your business plan, and..etc. Or you can pay even higher fees/rates for a loan from a medium-sized bank.

        Banks don’t care a whit about small businesses or non-rich/non-corporate Americans. Use of Kickstarter is wholly understandable given the current state of credit markets.

      • BofA, PNC, Wells, etc. has extremely onerous requirements to obtain a small business loan in the $20-$25k range. They often require the business to be in operation 2-3 years (which 3LP just hit), have about 50-75% collateral (usually 100%), and the loan is about 18-36 months in length which makes it very difficult to pay off.

        If you can’t meet every requirement, the major banks will usually turn you down due to high risk.

      • agreed. There are plenty small business loans and lines of credit they can apply for at the mentioned banks.

        That being said, I guess I really can’t hate the player. Between their Great Streets Grant and this Kickstarter they’re getting their buildout.

    • So ask me for an investment not a contribution. Then pay me back with a modest interest. I know several local restaurants & businesses that have done that. I’ve invested myself. People do want to support local businesses, but the business needs to respect our hard-earned money as well, and not just beg for money.

      • Who are you, Vladimir Putin? I think they can do it however they like, not how you think they should do it.

    • “Sanctimonious”? Let’s try “disingenuous”, “misleading” and, in a less forgiving interpretation, “deceitful.”

  • I would be happy to invest in this business with some agreed-upon type of return when the business meets certain financial milestones. But simply donating money via Kickstarter seems odd.

  • I’m going to start a Kickstarter campaign to help me pay my bills. Donations of $50 and above will receive a can of beer for their contribution.

    • There has to be a carrot-stick set-up. Donate; get something you want (for-profit “community” “teaching” space, or in your case, a can of beer + solvent neighbor who maintains his property). Fail to donate; something bad happens (continued lack of for-profit “community” “teaching” space, or in your case, lack of can of beer + your neighbor rents his house to 14 migrant workers). I think you’re on to something.

  • I like TLP, but agree with them it’s not a destination. Mostly because it’s not a restaurant, not near a metro and not open all the time. I try to patronize their store, but would go there more often if they were located more towards the Perworth metro. That being said, I don’t plan on donating as I kinda agree with previous commenters. I would support them receiving another Great Streets grant as they are a nice addition to the area. They really should consider a BBQ restaurant as opposed to a “party” space.

    • So, basically, you don’t personally want to give them money, but you are all in favor of forcing other people to do so via the Great Streets program which is taxpayer-funded. Got it.

  • Man, people on this blog are harsh. I love 3LP and am thankful that they opened up shop in a highly underserved area with little options. I would have preferred them expand their seating and “eat-in” options or do more prepared food for take out or open earlier and serve coffee and breakfast sandwiches. (Kind of a tease that they mention coffee and donuts as an idea they considered!) Any one of those would likely win multiple visits from our family each week. However, I am all for more development and activities I can walk to in the neighborhood. I donated in part because I see it as an investment in my neighborhood and also because what they offer as the incentives is about on par with the value of the donation. (In fact, you would save $50 by doing the $250 for 3 workshops route). So I see it more as I made a purchase knowing it will help a local business to further expand.

  • I live in the ‘hood where TLP is located, and I can state with high confidence that the above proposal is a total waste of money. Moreover, the majority of the community in north Petworth, aka Notyetworth, is a bunch of street people and/or poor ex-cons. Why would I pay TLP to help build a “space” for me to spend time with them? Ridiculous.

    • Yikes! Talk about neighborhood pride

    • I feel like “really not that bad people”‘s post answers your question and the questions of a lot of other people. I wonder if the folks commenting have a similar attitude towards NPR’s fundraising (“$50 for a fucking coffee mug?!?”) or paying $20 for t-shirt from their favorite bar (“T-shirts should only cost $6. What a scam!”). I’ll gladly pay a little extra to a business, non-profit or not, that I think improves my neighborhood because the benefits of its existence outstrip my paltry “donation.” I’ve only been to TLP twice, though my mom loves the place, and they were super nice and helpful. My mom loves the food and the folks, as well as their local commitment. I believe they hire high school students as quasi-interns and work with them to help them have good hours and learn the business. Or you could not help them out, avoid their shop, have them go out of business, and get your nitrate-laden meats at Giant and your coldcuts at an anonymous Subway. That’s capitalism!

  • The whole idea is that the stretch of GA Ave where 3LP is located needs to be cleared out of junk corner markets, hair nail supply, and liquor stores. The neighborhood could use more 3LP type stores. As for the Kickstarter, I see it as an investment in the neighborhood. I go in almost every Thursday for a pulled pork sandwich (best in DC) and charcuterie. Staff is always nice and polite, sometimes slow (I think they are understaffed and usually have one person in the store making sandwiches and helping customers), but it’s a nice place that I think more could appreciate if they are able to expand their services and product line. This thread is so negative: if you don’t feel right about donating, don’t donate. Simple. You probably aren’t who they are targeting anyway.

  • Sorry, no. There are actual charities that need my charity.

  • This is why I love the USA.

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