Café @ 407 looks to community for help with expansion

The Cafe @ 407 in the village of Liverpool has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for an expansion.

The Cafe @ 407 in the village of Liverpool has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for an expansion.

— At the heart of the village of Liverpool, there’s a little café with a big mission.

The Café @ 407, located at 407 Tulip St., opened in 2009 as a way to help fund Ophelia’s Place, a support and resource center for individuals and families impacted by eating disorders. The café’s sales of food and coffee provide a good portion of the money to help the center function.

Now, to better serve that mission, the café is looking for your help to complete a necessary expansion.

“We definitely underestimated what we would need [when we built the café],” said Mary Ellen Clausen, founder of Ophelia’s Place. Clausen stepped down as executive director in 2012 to become its funding director. When the café opened, it used donated equipment, including a residential refrigerator and stove with only three working burners. Since then, it’s become a community hotspot, necessitating an upgrade to its facilities.

“We want to reconfigure the line, making it more efficient, along with building a separate coffee bar for customers who just want a quick cup of coffee,” Clausen said. “Additionally we are creating workstation areas making it easier for our customers who need a place to work or study or just create. We also need to build some offices for Ophelia's Place along with an HVAC unit in that area; it gets a little stuffy back there.”

To help fund the expansion, the café has launched a campaign on Indiegogo.com, through which it hopes to raise $20,000. Indiegogo is an international crowd funding site started in 2008. The site's structure allows users to create a page for their funding campaign, set up an account with PayPal, make a list of "perks" for different levels of donation, then create a social media-based publicity effort. Users publicize the projects themselves through Facebook, Twitter and similar platforms. Unlike similar sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo disburses the funds immediately, when the contributions are collected through the user's PayPal accounts or direct credit card payments. Those funds are disbursed up to two weeks after the conclusion of a campaign. The site has helped fund nearly 50,000 campaigns since its founding.

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