Last week local entrepreneur Greg Gans of mobile restaurant ordering startup Savvy Orders launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to buy the assets of bankrupt Seattle sandwich shop Paseo, “hire the original employees, and provide livable wages and benefits.”
Riding a wave of positive press last week, the campaign had raised over $40,000 of its $250,000 goal by Sunday, but a pair of critical articles from KING5 and The Stranger put an abrupt halt to incoming donations.
According to KING5, former Paseo employee Gil Butler “and two of his former colleagues don’t want to work under new owners,” while another former employee Tyler Grantham was quoted by The Stranger as saying that “none of us are interested in what [Savvy Orders] proposed.”
Without the support of former Paseo employees, the Kickstarter campaign has floundered. In the last three days backers have withdrawn over $5,000 in pledges.
Savvy Orders founder Greg Gans was surprised by the reactions he got when he tried to reach out to the former Paseo crew. “They wouldn’t even have a conversation with us or hear us out,” Gans said earlier today.
Some of the commenters on Kickstarter have accused Savvy Orders of running “an elaborate con,” and a “scam,” but Gans says that they were motivated primarily by their love of Paseo. “It was one of our favorite places to go,” he explained.
After seeing the response from the former employees over the weekend, Gans tried to reach out to them again this week and offered to turn over the reins of the Kickstarter, but “they really have never responded to us,” he said, “except for a couple of them who have said ‘please don’t contact us.'”
In the face of such strong headwinds, Savvy Orders is essentially throwing in the towel. In an update posted to the Kickstarter page Wednesday afternoon, Gans writes, “We gave it our all and tried to do what we thought would be best for Paseo lovers. But at this point, it seems highly unlikely that Paseo will be reopened and restored to its original glory by us.”
Thursday morning Savvy Orders posted a final update to their Kickstarter page and officially cancelled the campaign.
We were happy to see that we were not alone in our love for Paseo and were thrilled about how many members of the community were willing to show their support when it closed. We truly appreciate all of your efforts and donations, however it appears extremely unlikely that we will reach our goal. As such, we are going end the Kickstarter, and refund everyone’s donations.