Robert and Erica Sansone have been operating Sansone's Bistro at 5969 South University in Greenwood Village for more than a dozen years. It's been a popular restaurant, so popular that in late 2014 the couple opened a second spot, the fast-casual fins & noodles Italian Seafood at 7530 South University. Explains Robert: "We wanted to design a concept that educated people on the importance of seafood in their diet while respecting our oceans and promoting overall health. By combining the renowned health benefits of both seafood and the Mediterranean diet, we have created a high quality, healthy, fast-casual food option."
But in the process, they also created a challenge. "With over $90,000.00 in cash, we applied for an SBA loan and signed a 5-year lease on the 'perfect' location," Robert explains. "Unfortunately, construction delays pushed us way off budget; our projected opening date was three months overdue. That’s three months with zero revenue. Now the holidays and old man winter were in full swing, making the next few months brutal and generating only 50 percent of our break-even revenue."
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Even winning awards, including Best New Restaurant in Centennial and getting a 4.9 star rating on Trip Advisor for fins & noodles, wasn't enough to keep the couple from getting swamped. "Despite all these successes, the three months of zero revenue had wiped out our operating accounts," says Robert. " Sansone’s Bistro can no longer carry the financial burden of supporting two restaurants. Bill payments are being made later and later every month. We are drowning in credit card debt and running out of ways to pay for inventory. Even our personal financial resources are suffering."
And so the Sansones have started a gofundme campaign to help keep their heads above water over the next few months. "We are not closing," Robert emphasizes on the site. "If everyone who reads this was to contribute as little as $10 fins & noodles would be able to pay rents, make payroll, plaster the surrounding neighborhoods with marketing materials, secure advertising promotions on major media markets, establish a stronger social media presence, increase brand awareness, and eventually franchise."
So far, they've raised $2,000 of the $10,000 they're looking for. Want to help fins & noodles get in the swim? Find all the details on the gofundmepage.