For those of you who follow In the Raw, you know that we hit a wall with our finances in early June while trying to finish renovating the building. Pete applied for a bank refinance on the building, and they approved it. At the eleventh hour, though, they pulled out. This was a hard hit on us. We'd been surviving, but we had held off on seeking financing elsewhere because we didn't want to step on any toes. That was a mistake, in hindsight, but we'd had nothing but assurances that all was well until the last minute. So, here we were, beginning at square one again. We took it hard for a weekend, but we kept moving on, seeking out financing for the next few weeks. Finally, two weeks ago, someone was interested in our building at a good price with a leaseback option so we could finish our renovations and get open, plus the partners had gotten good assurance that we could go through a different bank for a refinance on the building, as well, and all felt well. We were excited that we now had options to move forward after a long and stressful summer.
Unfortunately, last Monday I went to check on him after not being able to reach him for almost two hours, and the rest I don't really want to talk about. Suffice it to say, Pete isn't with us anymore, and it's been one of the hardest things I've ever gone through. I miss our 9 a.m. phone calls to discuss both our business plans and personal plans for the day. I remember hugs that we both needed every time we were in the same room together. The love that was between Pete and I was that true kind of friendship, and not just friendship, but family. He was a family that I'd never had. No judgments, no shaming; just acceptance, understanding, and encouragement. We only knew each other for a year, but he'd recently told me that he was so proud of the person I'd become, overcoming my demons and growing into such a strong person within that time. I told him that I would have never have gotten to the place I'm at without him, no doubt. He really did save my life and my sanity. I can honestly say I'd be dead right now if it weren't for Pete.
He was right, though. I am a much more complete, strong, and now more determined than ever, human being. I've got a great head on my shoulders, and with support from my remaining partners and mentor, I am at a place where there is no way I can let In the Raw fail. Pete believed in me and our company for a reason. He saw it way before I ever did, but lately I've been catching glimpses of the world through his eyes, and it helps me to know I got a piece of his spirit somehow and I'm not going to let it go until this project comes to fruition. I don't know how I'm going to do it yet, specifically, but there are many plans in the works--we'll see which one materializes first and go from there. All I do know is this: I owe it to him to realize this dream. It's exactly the only thing he would accept from me, and it's the only thing I'm going to accept from myself. And when we do get open, his family and I will be taking 10% of my equity and transferring it into the Pete Greenway Entrepreneurial Fund. With this fund, we are going to help small local entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses, giving not just monetary support, but also our partners will be assisting with accounting, marketing, and other things that small start-ups have a difficult time doing on their own. We will never let anyone forget our friend and comrade, and more or less in the words of Royal Tenenbaum's own epitaph, "He died tragically saving his family from the wreckage of a destroyed sinking battleship." Those words have never rang truer to me. I love you, Pete. I will never, ever let you down.
Until Next Time, Eat Raw, Live Long....