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11:29 PM Tue, Oct. 16th

Crowdfunding, Part II: Not everyone can 'cut the mustard' on Kickstarter

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>
Rob Mackey and Sheryl Strong display three of their signature dishes that will be on the menu of “The Local” if their Kickstarter campaign succeeds.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br> Rob Mackey and Sheryl Strong display three of their signature dishes that will be on the menu of “The Local” if their Kickstarter campaign succeeds.

The good news: The Local has raised more than $13,000 on its Kickstarter.com campaign.

The bad news: Sheryl Strong and her Prescott restaurant partners must raise another $162,000 by Jan. 19 - or they get nothing.

"We are optimistic that the tide will turn this week," said Strong, who previously started (but not Kickstarted) another Prescott restaurant, the Firehouse.

If The Local fails to meet its $175,000 goal, it won't be the first Prescott-area project that found the crowd wasn't quite up to the funding.

For every Granite Mountain Brewery, which succeeded in its Kickstarter goal of $18,000, there is a Nastee Dogs, which set its Kickstarter goal at $15,000.

How did that go, Steven Roberts?

"We didn't get a lick," Roberts said.

That's right, zero pledges, $0. Instead of the golden goose, the goose egg.

"It was pretty disheartening," said Paul Moskovich, Roberts' partner.

Many other local Kickstarter campaigns have failed, including various art, music and book projects.

Roberts and Moskovich say they got blindsided by bad timing when they launched their Kickstarter campaign in October.

"One day we launched it," Roberts said, "the next day we got hit with a barrage of things. The city (of Prescott) told us they were zoning us as a church."

Scrambling to deal with inspections and renovations for a former deli a block from Whiskey Row, Roberts and Moskovich never had the time - or confidence - to try to sell people on their Kickstarter campaign.

"It was very difficult to get out and approach people in the general public," Roberts said.

"It was going to be a grassroots thing, but we didn't feel comfortable doing that when several factors might have made it impossible. We didn't want to put any potential backers in that situation."

Though they didn't cut the muster - or mustard - on Kickstarter, Roberts and Moskovich decided not to give up on the idea of a place where they would make everything from scratch: hot dogs, buns, sauerkraut and, yes, even home-made mustard.

So they did what people did before Internet crowdfunding became popular.

"I sold some stuff - like my car - and we were able to put together a small chunk of change that was just enough to get us open," Roberts said.

"We're both young and impetuous, and believe in the concept. We put everything we had into it and were able to open the doors."

Nastee Dogs opened on Nov. 1, three weeks after its Internet crowdfunding attempt was 86ed.

Any tips for others trying to Kickstart business projects?

"Make sure you've got all your ducks in a row," Roberts said. "I would definitely also not be afraid to put your face out there, shake hands."

He plans to take his own advice: Even after the crowdfund shut out, Nastee Dogs plans to launch another Kickstarter campaign for improvements to the gourmet hot dog stand.

"We got a lot of support after we opened," Roberts said.

Follow Tom Scanlon on Twitter @tomscanlonpress