Frequently Asked Questions
Why books & beer?
We know what you're thinking: Do people still buy from brick-and-mortar bookstores? It's true that in today's world of e-books and Amazon Prime, local bookstores are no longer the only way -- or even the easiest way -- to get your hands on new reading material. But independent shops do something that mass-market and online options don't: They provide a curated selection and give customers the chance to browse, discuss, and engage with fellow book lovers. That's one reason why independent bookstores are surviving and thriving, even as larger chains have closed their doors.
Now, pair that with a friendly neighborhood cafe/pub setting throughout the day, where people are free to sit, read, and chat while enjoying a coffee or a pint of local craft beer. (We'll serve wine and hard cider, as well.) In the evening, we'll hold events to liven things up a bit -- trivia night, readings, movie nights, you get the idea. We envision a place for people to get together and share a few of the best things in life.
We’re keeping an eye out for rental storefronts in the historic city of Kingston, New York, in either the picturesque Uptown Stockade District or the up-and-coming Midtown Arts District. There’s a diverse community here of artists, young professionals, freelancers, NYC transplants, and lifelong residents, plus a growing number of Hudson Valley weekenders and daytrippers. In the last couple years, Kingston's become a home for Smorgasburg Upstate, a new semi-pro soccer team, a new 3,000-seat concert venue, artists' lofts and communal work spaces, and a surge of new restaurants, bars, and event spaces. Kingston is a jewel of the beautiful Hudson Valley, a town with easy access to the Catskill Mountains, the Roundout Creek and Hudson River, and a number of other eclectic small towns. In short, this is the wonderful community on the upswing, in an ideal location, and we want to be part of its renaissance.
What's your timeline?
Now through May 15, we're raising capital through a friends & family loan program. We hope to sign a lease, apply for licenses, and begin buildout by July 15. In late summer, we plan to launch a subsequent round of crowdfunding that targets the Kingston community, to generate local excitement and meet our final goal for capital. And by March of 2018, we hope to have completed our buildout, filled our inventory, and be ready to open our doors.
What training and experience do you have?
Amanda’s run her own business for six years and has experience in writing, editing, marketing, graphic design, and social media. Anthony’s a former high school teacher and administrator who’s now learning the bar business at a new craft beer–focused gastropub in the Hudson Valley. Together, we've done extensive research on both the bar and bookselling industries -- interviewing bar and bookstore owners throughout the state, making connections with local breweries and beer distributors, and joining the American Booksellers Association, for starters. We're aware that opening Rough Draft will require a steep learning curve, but we're hard workers and quick studies. We open to input from experts and those with more experience, committed to learning from our mistakes, and passionate about doing whatever it takes to succeed.
What foods and drinks will you serve?
We see Rough Draft as having a laid-back cafe vibe during the day (but with beer!) and a friendly neighborhood pub vibe at night (but with books!). Our plan is to serve a New York–centric selection of craft beer, wine, and hard cider, along with espresso drinks and small bites -- think savory pies and pastries, rather than full meals.
New or used books?
Kingston already has a used bookstore with a terrific selection, and we hope our addition to the community will complement that business, rather than compete with it. So we'll focus on new books only; this will also give us a chance to more carefully curate our selection, and to seek out lesser-known and hopefully local writers to fill out a selection that will also include some well-known books or bestsellers. This curation will let us keep a better handle on our inventory, and to be able to make more personalized recommendations to our clientele.