In an article for AOL.com, Pittsburgh restauranteur Kevin Sousa is receiving credit for more than his business success.
Felicetti writes, “It was the site’s most-funded restaurant project to date and it would not even be opening in New York, Los Angeles, or any cosmopolitan area. Superior Motors will open in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a struggling town outside of Pittsburgh, which currently does not have any kind of restaurant, not even fast food.”
Braddock’s struggle is a story near to Pittsburgh’s heart. We’ve come to know Mayor John Fetterman and his constituents as a tenacious and worthy lot; Fetterman himself has appeared both in The New York Times and on The Colbert Report, Felicetti notes.
But something about Braddock’s story has struck a chord with contributors to Kickstarter, garnering contributions from 2,000 individual backers. While several of these contributions, says Felicetti, were larger sums (like the one put forth by actor Christian Bale, who filmed a movie in the area), the majority of them were pledges under $100.
Thanks to a stellar video and a last-minute party above the soon-to-be restaurant, Sousa’s goal of $250,000 in 33 days was exceeded, with a total of $310,225 going towards Superior Motors’ opening, which is slated to occur in early spring of 2015, says Felicetti.
“In addition to being the first restaurant in Braddock, Superior Motors will stimulate the town’s already existing ecosystem, by providing employment, a culinary training program, and sourcing its products from area vendors,” she writes. “When Superior Motors opens, visitors can expect food that will be seasonally driven, sourced from local farms, and generally mindful of the spirit of Braddock. It will toe the line between fine dining and a casual neighborhood vibe. Braddock residents will be 50-75 percent of its staff and all residents will be offered a significant discount to eat there.”
Sousa is also putting in place a training program that will enable students to learn culinary skills for three days every week, then work paid positions for two. Felicetti reports that Sousa hopes that this model will translate to other Rust Belt cities who are trying to reimagine their economy.
Sousa told AOL Jobs that he credits Kickstarter as the platform through which small business can “change the world. Pittsburgh supports its own. If banks and traditional financial institutions don’t change the way they operate, they’re going to be left behind.”
You can read the full article here.