Thursday, February 17, 2011

The home of Ración

A few weeks after fruitlessly seeking retail spaces on foot and on loopnet, some of our downtown dwelling friends told us to check out the up-and-coming area along the Broadway Corridor. Driving around, I found a promising retail space at the Blackstone Lofts and decided to take Teresa to scope it out that same night. As we were poking around, she noticed For Lease signs going up in the windows across the street. The spaces were part of the historic Eastern Columbia Building, gorgeous at 11 o'clock at night.

For some very lucky reason, the current tenants Mark and Lisa were just settling into the space with their gallery and had the doors open as they worked. We wandered in, and immediately found common ground on the beauty of the space and the emotionality of the artwork. Something in the explanation of our restaurant concept must have resonated with them because not only did they show us the adjacent retail space (which was smaller, and ultimately what we set our sights on), but they showed us the loft that they owned, and called the owner of the retail space the next morning on our behalf. Within a few days, we had met with the owner and brokers and had an LOI in the works!

When we embarked on our effort to find a space for our restaurant, I had no idea what to look for, what to negotiate, how to phrase my negotiations. With the help of MANY friends (lawyers, architects, designers, business owners and operators, local residents) we pieced together a few documents that made sense to us and the nature of our business. Though not without a few painful moments, the process of finding our restaurant spot is exactly what I envision for Ración: a combination of a little luck, a gut reaction that this just feels right, and the combined interest of a whole group of very cool people.

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