Dear friends, supporters and patrons,
Yesterday marked 6 months since Muskingum Valley Community Development was formed and purchased The Bridge. I’d like to update you on how things are going.
We believe that transparency is the bedrock of functional community. If we can’t be honest with one another, how will we help our neighbors in their triumphs and struggles? Our door is always open, and we’ll always provide honest answers.
We can break our mission down into three identifiable objectives. One is going well, one is on track, and one still needs improvement.
To provide employment and professional development for individuals who face barriers to conventional employment. We are accomplishing this every day. We have grown from 4 employees to 10. 40% of our employees are felons, 30% have less than a high school equivalent education, 20% are actively engaged in addiction recovery, 30% do not have permanent residence, and 50% face significant childcare challenges. And, of course, a portion of our staff are stable, healthy individuals who simply need a solid workplace to provide for their families and develop professionally.
About 80% of our staff have demonstrated significant personal and/or professional growth during their time with us. And two employees have moved on to full-time salaried positions in the community, which is our goal.
To support and develop the local food economy. We presently source about 20% of our food ingredients from Muskingum County, and about 30% from within 50 miles! This is exceptional. But our goal is 50%.
There will always be a certain amount of our product which will need to be conventionally sourced (for example, I haven’t met any local olive oil producers), but we are engaging farmers and our share of local consumption is growing! This month we will begin sourcing our grass-fed beef from a local farmer as well, and as the summer months approach local produce will become more available.
To be financially sustainable and to channel profits back into the local community. We have not yet reached financial sustainability as a restaurant, and are presently about 15% below our target revenues. Part of this is due to seasonal challenges, but we do need to continue to grow our customer base, particularly for the extended dinner hours.
We have increased revenues by approximately 65% since purchasing the restaurant on September 1, 2016, and we are trending in the right direction. However, we do have limited cash on hand and are committed to operating debt-free, so it’s important that we continue to work hard and improve our sales numbers expeditiously.
Our goal is to be 100% funded by restaurant sales, with profit at the end of each month to be rolled into new projects which will benefit the Putnam and Zanesville communities.
We so appreciate the support we receive from our community every day. We see the mission resonate with our patrons and supporters, and we see real life changes for our staff, investors, customers and community, who come together in new and unique ways through a sustainable enterprise like this one.
We do still need your help. We thank you for going out of your way to eat with us for lunch and dinner. We thank you for bringing friends and family, and sharing on social media. We thank you for donating and investing and praying for our staff and operations.
Together we are shaping a new world. Thank you for loving us, and thank you for extending us your grace when we don’t meet the mark. None of this works without you.
By the love of Christ which guides and empowers us,
CEO, Muskingum Valley Community Development