In March, Barrel Harbor Brewing owner Tim St. Martin announced that he would be pulling out of the satellite tasting room he opened next door to and, by all accounts to that point, in partnership with At East Games. That role-playing and tabletop game outlet’s name was included in the venture when it opened in 2016: At Ease at Barrel Harbor. St. Martin cited “two-and-a-half years of operating at a loss” as his reason for shuttering the Miramar spot. Now, he’s sharing more about why the business failed.
Over the weekend, St. Martin initiated a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising $50,000 to help him save his business and his home. On the campaign page, he offers his account of how he got to this point, stating that in 2016 a high-school friend—the owner of At Ease—“convinced” him to abandon an expansion project he had begun for his business in order to go into a 50-50 partnership that would fetch them the 6,600-square-foot space they would cohabitate. St. Martin says revenue from the gaming business came in well below projections, leading to the years of losses.
St. Martin reports he was left with $140,000 in sales and use taxes, payroll, merchandise, rent and more that he says he had to end up paying for on his own. He goes on to outline his current debts: an equipment loan and two high-interest capital loans that have a combined balance of roughly $75,000.
“For this I reach out to you, my friends, my family members, and my patrons that do not want to see the brand go away,” St. Martin writes. “I have just gotten started with a very large and reputable distributor which can help lift sales, and with two of the loans paid off and the third reconfigured at a much lower payment I can save what I have invested every day of the last 6 years of my life, and my entire life savings into. Failure to raise these funds will force me into bankruptcy, and the creditors may force me to sell my home to pay off the money lent on personal guarantee.”
At press time, the campaign had raised $1,170. This is not St. Martin’s first crowd-funding venture. In February of 2018, he sought investors via online platform, Wefunder. The goal of that initiative was $100,000 to $250,000, but it failed to reach the low-end of that range. Barrel Harbor Brewing opened in 2013 and is located at 2575 Pioneer Avenue, #104.