Owners of Sapporo Ichibang hope to reopen in new location in June
And supporters of Sapporo Ichibang have been busy finding ways to help owners Jeff Kang and Angela Lee recover some of the losses they incurred when the parking garage that housed their restaurant closed over safety concerns.
A bake sale held at the Fromagerie Elgin raised about $700, and an online campaign at indiegogo.com has set a target of $10,000. As of Monday morning, the running total was $4,465, with a May 1 deadline growing closer.
Shane Black, manager at Sudbury Sapporo Ichibang, said they decided to set the goal at $10,000, even though they don't expect to reach it. Unlike other crowdsourcing websites, indiegogo allows users to keep whatever they raise, regardless of whether they reach the fundraising goal.
“Jeff and Angela had to put a significant amount of money up front to get all the gears to run,” Black said. “Obviously, they've put out more than $10,000 … The architect had to be paid up front, any contractors had to be given a basic amount to hold the job for them.”
“They put out a lot of their own money, and they still have crazy bills and their kid's going to college in Toronto. So they're pretty broke right now."
Most of the ideas came from a Facebook page they created – Friends of Sapporo Ichibang. Black said he and supporters Jen McKerral – who organized the bake sale -- and former employee Maty Ralph got together and have been working on implementing the best ideas from the page.
“Everyone has been really great,” Black said.
A fundraising concert was held April 18 at the Townehouse, with help from the Speakeasy, which provided door prizes. Sapporo has gotten a lot of support from other downtown businesses, and work is set to begin soon renovating the former Joe Lesar building to remake into the new location for the restaurant.*
The new location will have almost double the number of tables – around 70 or 80, but Jeff and Angela have said they will try and keep the authentic look and feel of the original location. However, renovations will be expensive – as much as $500,000.
Anyone who wants to donate on the indiegogo site have a number of choices. For $10, you get your name up on an appreciation wall in the new restaurant, while for $30 you get a guitar or piano lesson. Other items include gift certificates for the new restaurant ($50), a car wash ($100) and a private catered party ($400). The biggest prize is $500, which gets up to 10 supporters a private chef's table at the new restaurant.
For more information, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/sudbury-sapporo-ichibang#home. The Facebook site can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1477828859024157.
*Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly said Joe Lesar was now closed. In fact, the store will remain open until renovations begin.