Business

GoFundMe is One-Time Effort in Long-Term Plan, Says Shenanigans Owner

Erin Lundstrom is looking to be around as a business owner in Maplewood Village for a long time.

Lundstrom is in her third year as owner of Shenanigans Toys — formerly Scriveners — on Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood Village.

“I jumped in quickly to keep the toy store going,” Lundstrom told Village Green when she had heard that Scriveners might go dark and the downtown would lose its only toy store. In doing so, Lundstrom said she did not have the working capital lined up that she should have had in starting a  business: “I jumped in the deep end without floaties!”

Recently, Lundstrom has faced two balloon payments — to her landlord and the former business owner. In order to meet those obligations, she has turned to GoFundMe and her local supporters to help raise the capital.

When Lundstrom posted her call for help via GoFundMe on social media, it generated lots of positive feedback and support.

However, some questioned whether raising funds via GoFundMe was a viable business plan and wondered if Lundstrom would be regularly turning to such fundraising sites whenever she was in a financial bind.

The answer is no, said Lundstrom.

“This is not a bandaid on a sinking ship,” she told Village Green. When the balloon payments are fulfilled, Lundstrom said she is looking at regular, steady expenses. She is also ramping up her marketing, promotions and revenue-generating events.

Popular Teddy Bear Tea Parties, which formerly took place twice a year, will now be held every other month starting in May. Shenanigans will also host Pokemon classes — actually teaching kids how to play the game, not just collect the cards — every Tuesday in March. And Lindstrom is headed to the Toy Fair in NYC next week to bring in some new and exciting product lines.

As a sign of her thanks and her business savvy, Lindstrom is offering a 10% off code good for one year as well as a free pass to any class or activity to anyone who donates.

Find the link to Shenanigans Toys GoFundMe page here.

Here is Lundstrom’s post from her GoFundMe page:

Shenanigans Toys, Maplewood’s go to shop for fun playthings for kids of all ages is about to lose it’s lease!

Established 25 years ago under another well known name, we are now struggling to keep our doors open.

Within a matter of days we must raise the funds to remain a “servant” of this wonderful community.

I have refrained from this method of fundraising, because as a community you have sustained us. Without your patronage and continued support throughout the years, the store would not have continued.

As I have said many times before, I am beyond grateful to this community for allowing me to have a business here and to be a part of your lives and your children’s lives.
It has been an honor to participate in your school fund raisers, charity drives, and the many other events that Maplewood and the surrounding areas do to better our community.

I have been lucky enough to use my accessiblity to our community to help the children of the area when possible. We raised money to assist a family with medical bills for their child with leukemia, sent a student on her class trip when her family couldn’t afford for her to go, built a changing area for the diaper wearing tots in town, donate toys to kids in shelters and try our best to donate toys to each school that asks. And of course there are the millions of high fives, smiles, jokes that we offer just by stepping in the door.

Now I must ask for a small bit of generosity in return.

I ask for nothing more in life then to continue to work in a community like Maplewood. To be a watchguard for our children. A parent told me recently, that when her son is in town he knows that if he feels scared or is in trouble or needs anything he knows he can come to Shenanigans and we will care for him until his mom comes. There are no words to express what an impact on my heart that made!

In return, for any donation made, I will offer a 10% code to you good for one calendar year! As well as a free pass to any class or activity that we do. Including our Teddy Bear Tea Parties and Pokemon Classes.

There would never be enough ways for me to say thank you. Caring for the children in our community in any way that I can has always been and WILL always be my goal. Being able to provide fun, educational, creative products to enrich their lives is my way to reach out.
Please know that with every donation not only will you have my endless gratitude, but a spot in my heart and the store.

Let’s go another 25 years and more!

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