Whoa! General Lafayette in crisis.

I had a feeling things weren’t going well, but this comes as a shock.

Just received from Chris Leonard at General Lafayette Inn:

The General Lafayette Inn and its Guest House are in jeopardy of closing Stiff competition, limited resources, and the failing economy have contributed to a steady decline in revenues over the past 16 months. While beer sales have remained relatively stable, our food, wine and liquor sales have decreased to the point that we can longer maintain operations. Past due mortgages, property taxes, payroll taxes, and accounts payable to vendors have pushed the General to the precipice.Unless we raise significant funds in the next two months – to get current with our debtors, improve facilities, increase wholesale beer production, and increase our marketing efforts – closure is imminent.

While we have solicited sale of the General, no offers have come – understandable in this economic climate. Any offer we do receive will likely come from a party uninterested in the history of the General. It could become the next Wawa or CVS. Even more likely is that we will face foreclosure, allowing a developer to more easily acquire the properties and demolish the 5th oldest tavern in the country.

The General Lafayette Inn consists of two properties and three buildings. It’s most recent appraisal (2007) valued it at just under $2.2 million. We are a family owned operation. I, Brewmaster Christopher Leonard, am the majority owner. We desperately seek to avoid losing the General Lafayette Inn and the fate that would befall it if we do. So, we are soliciting equity investors to become silent (or not-so-silent) partners in this unique local treasure. Generally speaking, we are offering stock in the General Lafayette Inn for approximately 1% per $10,000. We will consider partners for as little as $5000. You would gain a small piece of history, pride in preserving the past, and a heck of a lot of delicious beer in return.

We are also starting a special “Friends of the General Lafayette Inn Society”. We are looking for up to 150 passionate local beer and/or history lovers with $1000 to invest in our past and good beer future. In return you will receive an annual $275 house account each of the next 5 years. This can be used for any goods or services. We will host an annual members-only event and dedicate the oldest portion of the building to the Society, displaying each member’s name.

In the meantime, know that operations at the General Lafayette Inn will continue as normal. We continue to produce new, innovative beers (look for a kriek soon). We have a new chef, Oliver Munguia. He has made some interesting changes including hand cut fries, house made pickles and has shown an attention to freshness, quality, and consistency that the General has lacked for some time.

Please contact me a by email or stop in to speak with me, for more details/information.We understand how untraditional and risky this approach is. However, we are steadfast in our belief that the General Lafayette Inn is worth it and willing to do just about anything to protect its future.

Very Truly Yours,
Christopher W. Leonard, Brewmaster/Proprietor
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery

Chris added this when I contacted him just now:

“Please be clear that we do not intend to close, do not want to close, are not currently being pressured to close, do not want to sell, etc… We continue to do everything possible to carry on. In fact, we’re bottling chocolate thunder today and just put out a fantastic new menu (should be up on our website soon). The bank has (so far) refused to restructure our debt, so we seek every option under the sun to get through this difficult time.”

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