News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

NOCHE

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


Crowdfunding for the future
Online fundraising for everything from tech gadgets to book stores, like the Learned Owl in Hudson
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Hudsonite Joanne Knox (right) is a frequent Learned Owl shopper; her sister, Jennifer, always visits when in town from New York. The 45-year-old store is for sale, and a long-time employee is trying to raise funds online to buy the Owl.
Courtesy of Carl Carlson
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Crowdfunding is gaining as a way to get seed money, usually for budding business people with innovative tech products. But as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, one old-school Northeast Ohio business is using it to write the next chapter in its 45-year history.
Crowdfunding for the future

Other options:
MP3 Download (3:30)


Entrepreneurs have gone online to raise money for everything from iPhone accessories to art projects to mission trips. Capital is harder to find today than it was before the 2008 financial meltdown. And that’s why Kate Schlademan is on Indie-gogo. She’s trying to raise $50,000 for a down payment on The Learned Owl book store in Hudson.

“I actually have 10 years of book-store experience. I did seven years at Border’s, which really helped get me going in running and managing a book shop. I’ve done the last two years at the Learned Owl with Liz. And she’s been extremely helpful in teaching me the indie route.”

Schlademan reminds current owner, Liz Murphy, of herself when she bought the store in 1983.

“She’s been dying to book store ever since I announced it. I had never thought of it before that moment. Unlike Kate who has wanted to own a bookstore for a long time.”

Changing times
Murphy estimates that greater Cleveland had about 35 independent book stores when she started. A quick search online reveals fewer than that in the whole state today. And chains, like B. Dalton, WaldenBooks and Border’s are long gone. Schlademan acknowledges the challenge of e-books and Amazon, but thinks she has an advantage.

“I guess with Border’s, one of the big problems they had was they tried to expand too quickly. And then they couldn’t draw back quickly enough. So I think, with us being one shop, we have the stability that the larger companies don’t have.”

Moving fast
Quickly adapting to sell Kindles or spotlighting up-and-coming authors has helped the Learned Owl distinguish itself in Northeast Ohio. A challenge for many online-funded tycoons has been delivering a product. For example, a campaign might raise money to mass-produce a better iPad charger. Early investors are promised one of the first units off the assembly line. But in the case of the Learned Owl, there’s no commodity exchanged; it’s all donations.

Sherwood Neiss, a principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisors in Florida, says that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“You’ve got a lot of Main Street business that can’t qualify for traditional financing. So what this form of crowd funding does is create a new asset class, which allows people to invest in startups and small businesses in their communities, and they’ll have a vested interest in their success. So it’s a great way to get the capital going where Wall Street and Washington have really stepped out.”

JOBS
Neiss is referring to the Jumpstart Our Business Start-Ups, or JOBS, Act. The federal law passed in April and legitimizes campaigns like the one for the Learned Owl in the eyes of more serious investors. It updated Depression-era laws that were designed to protect people from get-rich-quick hucksters.

That allows investors to come together on SEC-registered websites, vet an entrepreneur and business plan, and then essentially become a shareholder in the new entity.

Schlademan can offer premiums ranging from bumper stickers to naming rights inside the store, but says, “Unfortunately, the book business is a stable business, however it is not a very lucrative business. So stock options aren’t necessarily a viable option.”

The Owl has thrived in Hudson partially through the efforts of Murphy, who is also head of the Downtown Merchants’ Association. She’ll continue in that role after the sale. As of today, the Indie-gogo campaign needs about 700 people to contribute $50 each before the deadline a week from Saturday.
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Could University Circle developments ripple into East Cleveland?
Outsiders are so far off the beaten path and you all need to attend the meeting being held today 8/31/15 Cleveland Public Library, 1:00 PM. http://44112news.co...

ResponsibleOhio leader says the state is trying to set Issue 3 up for failure
Ohio suppose to believe that a group of investors were united under one cause to legalize marijuana.Once legal they all of sudden turn into 10 different compani...

Terry Pluto: U of A's new athletic director has the toughest job in town
It is a hard sell. The Students do not want to go to the football games and they do not want to pay for the program. They have a lot of student loan debt and t...

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
This BFGoodrich alumna says, "Thank you, Dave Lieberth!"

State creates panel to look at Ohio charter school sponsors
It is more than disturbing that charter schools, which seemed like a good idea years ago, have begun to cripple public school education.

DEVO mural in Akron is now on display downtown
The installation is not at the former site of Chili Dog Mac. CDM was one block north on the other side of Main St.

New report shows growth in white collar jobs for Northeast Ohio
Unfortunately, there are fewer jobs in comparison to the number of professionals applying for them. I have been had a full time job since June 2012. In order to...

Advocacy group: Ohio could lead in clean energy
Ohio Legislators, You are supposed to be our leaders but you're not taking us where we want to go - where we need to go!

Campaign for and against marijuana legalization begins
Cannabis legalization needs to happen as soon as possible! But not if it gives monopolies to a selected few to grow and sell the herb. Responsible Ohio's mono...

Heinen's in downtown Cleveland sponsors a contest for food entrepreneurs
Love that this took place right here! What a way to support local. Thank you Heinens! Love this quote, as a small local biz, I agree, it's big!! "To be a small...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University