Traverse City Record-Eagle

the BIZ

March 5, 2014

Business crowdfunds for support

TRAVERSE CITY -- Charlie McDaniel sees every donation as one more person who believes in his business.

“If people want a natural foods store in Frankfort, they need to support it,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel owns Charlie’s Natural Food Market and is over halfway through an Internet crowdfunding campaign to raise money to support the store.

Crowdfunding is a way for people to use the Internet to reach out to a large group of people and collect money for a cause.

McDaniel is trying to raise $30,000 by March 14 to put toward new merchandise such as vitamins and supplements, and buy more efficient refrigerators to trim their $1,500 monthly electric bill.

McDaniel opened Charlie’s Natural Food Market in August 2010 on a tight budget. He had seen his health improve on a vegan diet, and he and his wife were sick of driving to Traverse City to shop at a health food store.

They saw a need for one closer to home.

Store sales have been good – growing around 24 percent from 2012 to 2013 – but that’s not enough.

“Every penny we’ve had come into the store has gone right back into the store,” McDaniel said. “To be able to move on to the next level and be able to provide what we need to for customers, we felt we need some added funding.”

Charlie’s Natural Food Market is a local resource for bulk grains, local products and other foods free of gluten and genetically modified organisms. But for some customers it’s more than just a store.

“I think it’s a little bit of a hub for people who are interested in healthy eating and healthy living,” Sharron May said. “When events are happening or something like that it’s a good place to put up a flyer or advertise so everybody knows what’s going on. It’s a social thing as well as just really good food and a place to buy some items.”

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