JEN BURTON, who owns Jen’s Place in Brunswick, ladles up some soup. Burton has started a crowdfunding campaign to help save her restaurant.

JEN BURTON, who owns Jen’s Place in Brunswick, ladles up some soup. Burton has started a crowdfunding campaign to help save her restaurant.

BRUNSWICK

J en Burton is turning to crowdfunding to keep her restaurant going as she looks to expand her business.

Burton, who owns Jen’s Place in Brunswick, has set up a fundraising campaign with a goal of $50,000 on Plumfund, an online crowdfunding platform. Just a few days in, $100 has been donated thus far. The fundraiser ends March 21, earlier if Burton reaches her goal sooner.

In her introductory message on the site, she states she hopes to expand the family breakfast restaurant that “has become a local favorite over the last six years.”

“As time goes by, things get changed around, laws and rules for restaurants, the only way for me to do it is to do it this way,” Burton said in an interview. “If I put more seating in, I have to put in more sinks and bigger grills. It’s a matter of being able to make it do it’s thriving.”

She said that many customers come in on the weekends and the overhead of running the restaurant is high. In addition, many of the restaurant employees, Burton said, are family members.

“It’s an ongoing battle. I’m trying to keep it all together here,” she said. “I need to get things renovated and up to date, or I’m not going to be there anymore. It’s not a decision I take lightly, it’s been very difficult.

“I know everybody loves it. A lot of people don’t know what it takes to run it,” Burton added. “It’s a place where people gather, and I’m happy it’s a place like that. It’s definitely a challenge keeping it going.”

If she reaches her goal, Burton plans to use the money raised to expand by an additional 30 feet, upgrade the kitchen, fix the heating and pay off part of an existing loan she took out to support the business. She stressed that if the $50,000 goal is reached before the end of the fundraising period, she would close down the site.

“It’s just so I can keep it up-to-date, so I won’t have to shut the door. I can put better seating in for everybody and fix the heating in there,” she said. “I can get the lines down so people won’t have to wait as long.

“It’s not like I can just tear a wall down and put tables in,” Burton added. “I need to get it approved by the building inspector and codes, and these things cost money.”

The expansion would allow for an increase in seating, nearly doubling the capacity from 40 to 75 seats.

“It’s a big difference,” Burton said.

Jen’s Place isn’t just a place for people to meet old and new friends — the restaurant is hosting a Chief ’s Mess fundraising event on Saturday.

“We’re hosting them to come in on Saturday in groups of six, every two hours,” Burton said. “They’re raising money for things like sending soldiers home when there is a family emergency, if a soldier passes, they send things to the family.

“They’re going to be cooking, dishwashing and waiting tables,” she added. “It will support both of us.”

Burton knows what she’s asking of her potential supporters, but her options are running out.

“I know it’s hard for everybody this time of year,” Burton said. “I need to bring in more revenue to pay things that are taken out of what’s supposed to be profit; it’s hard for restaurants for the first 5-7 years when they start up.

“I can’t keep going the way I’m going, because I’m just going to get further behind. I need to make the changes now,” she added. “Brunswick is losing a lot of businesses, it seems, that are going over to Topsham. I don’t want to be a statistic. I love them (the customers) so much and I don’t want to tell them, but I’m trying my damnedest not to close these doors.”

To visit Burton’s crowdfunding site, visit http://www.plumfund.com/pf /g81k9.

Jen’s Place is located at 25 Stanwood St., Suite A, in Brunswick. For more information about the restaurant, call (207) 406-2692, visit its website at http://www.jensplacebrunswick.com or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/je nsplacesept2009. It is open from 5 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

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Where & when

JEN’S PLACE is located at 25 Stanwood St., Suite A, in Brunswick. It is open from 5 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.


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