Durham shop owner gets second chance with help from community
Posted December 9, 2014
Durham, N.C. — A former Marine sniper is getting another shot at running his Durham shop after a crowd-funding effort helped re-energize his business plan.
In August, Matt Victoriano was being honored at the White House for his work to employ veterans and get them back on their feet. At the same time, his business, Intrepid Life Coffee, was days from going out of business.
Victoriano said he planned to close the shop for good after falling months behind on his rent, but he always hoped to reopen in another downtown location so he could continue his mission to help fellow veterans.
Friends suggested a social media campaign, and it worked. Victoriano raised $27,000 in just seven days. Intrepid Life has now taken on a new life at its new location on Broad Street.
“There’s Wi-Fi, printer, food and coffee,” he said. “It’s laid out to be a comfortable work space. (Customers) can buy monthly memberships and have access to it.”
The membership-based community work space is being operated as a nonprofit and charges $6 per month. The former Marine’s goal is to help other veterans get back on their feet.
“Nobody understands you except for the guys that served beside you in similar situations,” Victoriano said.
He is still steep in debt from his failed coffee shop but said he won’t be using any of the crowd-funding money to bail himself out.
“That money wasn’t donated to pay debt. It was meant to keep the mission going, and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.
Victoriano says he will eventually offer workshops and employment training for veterans at the new location.