Minneapolis’ Twin Cities Leather & Latte reaches out for help

MINNEAPOLIS  — Minneapolis leather store and community space Twin Cities Leather & Latte announced during the Twin Cities Leather contest that the store needs help to remain open.

The business is the sponsor of the contest and has been open for about five years. The announcement was made at the end of the contest. They did say that the store was not in immediate danger of closing and is working to stay open.

From the store’s Facebook post:

Here’s the full story. We shared that TCL&L needs some help. We’ve had a great run over the last 5 years. We’ve thrown this weekend event and keep it free. We provide free community space for local clubs including the recovery community, young folks, and more. We provide a warm place of respite in the winter for those struggling with housing, and through our community donation box we have donated thousands of pieces of clothing and personal items to those in our community who need them. We try as hard as we can to support local and national groups and causes that are important, all the while celebrating our diversity and creating a sex-positive environment for all people.

However, 2017 was a tough year financially with increased expenses – financial, political, and emotional ones – that all LGBTQAI communities have felt. Since 45 took office, consumer confidence has fallen nationwide. People don’t want to leave home. They’re shopping less. Meanwhile, everyday City issues (such as a 50% reduction in neighborhood parking) have affected us. Uptown has become a difficult place to do business and the neighborhood demographic has changed dramatically. But we kept on working and planning. At the end of the year, we had a planned balloon payment on some debt. Then, unexpectedly, we had an increase in property taxes flow down to us and also some machinery breakage. All of these combined affect our cash flow and suddenly, we’re in crisis management. To be a café or retail store, you need to be able to buy the products first.

If TCL&L has appeared to be an easy business to run that has been a bountiful success, we assure you it’s not that easy. As owners, we work 7 days a week while taking home less than minimum wage, with our only “vacations” being vending and work at leather weekends/road shows in other states. But we press on because we believe in this community and its’ purpose. We believe Twin Cities Leather & Latte offers value to you.

So, Twin Cities Leather will continue. Period. We started out in a basement and can do that again if that’s what it takes. The Twin Cities Leather contest will continue whether or not TCL&L as a community space does. But we’re not giving up. The shop, as a community space, has proven to mean so much to so many people. YOU showed us that this weekend. We want another 5(and more!) wonderful years with you. So, right now we are looking at renegotiating our debt and putting ourselves in a position to move to a better location to serve you. We are restructuring to figure out how to make that happen.

We understand some of our supporters out there are raising funds. We will use any support provided by you to help move locations, and also show lenders/banks our importance to the community. We are also open to your suggestions about new location etc. Tynan and Karri spoke up this weekend because after all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into this place, we need your empowerment. But also, we needed to acknowledge your place in this space and know that we are in this together.

There are efforts to help raise enough money to keep the store operating. This GoFundMe campaign has gotten shares widely on leather Facebook. As of Wednesday afternoon, $5,435 of $20,000 had been raised.