Cinema Arts Gets New Chairs Thanks to Crowdfunding

20161223_205501890_iosCinema Arts Theatres in Fair City Mall (Fairfax, Va) has brand new chairs in its theatres. This is thanks to a creative crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The “Save Our Butts The Seat-quel” campaign raised $112,536 from 1,260 supporters. Quite an achievement considering the family owned theatre was only asking for $100,000 at the start of the campaign.

How do you raise $12,500 more than you ask for? By having great pledge awards! This campaign had eighteen different pledge levels. As little as $5 gets your name on the big screen as a thank you. Thirty people gave for this award. The highest level ($1,000) earned you a … “Get an 8 second video/PowerPoint advertisement or message on the Big Screen before our movies play for 2 months.” Three people paid for this award.

20161223_205719520_iosMy wife and I donated at the $25 level. We received 2 tickets and a voucher for a “combo light” (a popcorn & 2 small sodas). We stopped by the theater yesterday to see the new chairs and watch Rogue One (good movie!) The staff have one of the new chairs on display in the lobby by the front entrance for people stopping by to check out the results of the campaign.

This demonstrates the power of crowdfunding as a new source of capital for small businesses and nonprofits. Come up with a creative campaign message. Add a smart or funny video. Attract supporters with interesting award levels. Back it up with savvy social media marketing. Before you know it, an old theater has new chairs, a small museum as a new exhibit or a small town has new tourism revenue. It’s worth exploring.

Congratulations on a successful campaign Cinema Arts Theatres!!!

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A Visit to Lake Anne Brew House

img_1211I had three good reasons to visit the Lake Anne Brew House Sunday. First, the brew house is located in the historic Lake Anne Village Center in Reston, VA (Fairfax County). The shopping center sits at the end of Lake Anne. It makes a pleasant backdrop for shopping, eating and people watching. My wife and I like this area but we don’t get to visit much.

Second, to check out the award winning beer! Two of the beers at the Lake Anne Brew House earned the 2016 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. Their “Lord Fairfax English Pale Ale” placed 2nd for a British Bitter. Their “Reston Red” placed 3rd for an American Amber Ale.

And third, to meet the business dynamo at the head of this female-owned nano-brewery. Melissa Romano and her husband started the brewery six months ago. I learned about this start-up when I contributed to their Kickstarter campaign back in September 2015. They raised $26,000 from 191 backers to help get the business off the ground. Congratulations to this hard working couple with their creative way to help finance a business.

img_1214There’s a couple things you should know for your visit. Get the correct address from their website before you drive there. You need a special address entered into GPS. You’ll get lost if you use their mailing address.

Next, they have snacks for sale but no food is served at the brew house. They have a great solution to this. The brew house has a menu with food items from the nearby Kalpso’s Sport Tavern. Order food from the tavern and a server will bring the food to your table at the brew house. More creative thinking and a good partnership with a nearby business.

Now you have three reasons to visit as well. Grab a few friends for some great beer and a great view!

Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!