A Perthshire couple are on the cusp of smashing a £10k Crowdfunder to help get their long-awaited Errol cafe open in the New Year.
Ali and Bob Abercrombie have been hard at work renovating Errol’s old Victoria Hall to transform it into The Lass O’ Gowrie.
But they have faced numerous setbacks due to Covid, meaning their dream to open in 2021 has become an impossibility.
In order to help with the final push to get the doors open, the pair launched their Crowdfunder bid on December 9 to raise £10K.
After just over a week they have raised £9,594 with 38 days of the Crowdfunder left for individuals to pledge support.
Ali said: “We are totally blown away by how the crowdfund has been received.
“We genuinely almost chickened out as we thought folk would think we were being greedy just before Christmas.
“But when we hit ‘Go live’ our phone started pinging away because the site emails when each pledge is made.”
The page states the aim of the Crowdfunder is to “feed absolutely everyone and anyone and get folk caffeinated again.”
The Lass O’ Gowrie Crowdfunder rewards
Ali (47) and Bob (46) are offering a range of reward options from £5 to £1,000. One of the most popular has been “A Year of Cheesecake” which costs £45 and will see the recipient get two slices of cheesecake per month for 12 months.
For £1,000 there is an opportunity to join the “top tier of the VIP club” with a 10% discount for the first 12 months of membership and exclusive early access to event tickets.
Currently 176 people have pledged support.
Ali and Bob intend to use the cash to help with their kitchen installation and staff training, the bar build and the purchase of furnishing as well as a draft beer system.
The pair ran AliBob Cafe in the Carse of Gowrie for six years. They were left shell-shocked in November 2020 when they received notice to say their lease for the cafe was not being renewed by the owners.
Offering a range of home baking, soups and meals, self-taught Ali won baker of the year in 2016 at the Scottish Baking Awards. They also scooped café of the year at The Courier Menu Food & Drink Awards in 2019.
‘We had nothing’
When lockdown hit, they set about delivering groceries to customers in their local community. They called the service AliBoberoo.
After receiving the news they had to vacate the premises, the couple spent their savings and even sold their pension to raise the capital required to build a future elsewhere.
Ali explained: “Our staff lost their jobs. Our customers were without an essential service. The business that we had worked so hard to create was dismantled overnight. We had nothing. No income.
“January and February was a very dark time. Just trying to work out what we were going to do and how we were going to survive.
“We didn’t want to leave the local village, because it was the local village that supported us.
“We really need to push on with this and get the doors open. We’re really excited, we just need to get ourselves over the finishing line.
“The last two years for everybody has been so tough and sometimes you just need a nice cup of coffee and a bit of cake to make you feel a bit better.”