People often don’t realize Chris Gandsy’s biscuits are gluten-free – even after they’ve eaten a few.
He’s made them for plenty of southerners, he said, who might say little other than “these are some damn good biscuits.”
Gandsy, who owns the Prospect-Lefferts Garden spot DaleView Biscuits and Beer, is a neighborhood fixture. His 350-square-foot space seats around a dozen people, and serves up loaded biscuit sandwiches alongside a small selection of house-brewed beers – Gandsy has a farm brewery license, enabling him to brew and serve his own craft beers, which customers can also purchase to-go by the growler. With that model – scratch-made gluten-free biscuits, served with freshly-pulled beers in a cozy space – Gandsy’s built up a robust and loyal following.
Now, looking to branch out to a larger space, he’s asking that same community to help him build his business.
Using a platform called Mainvest, which entitles investors to a “revenue sharing note,” or agreement that the business will share a percentage of their future revenue until the investor receives a return, the website states, Gandsy has managed to accrue $32,000 so far – 44% of his total goal – in just a short period of time.
An investment campaign is preferable to a crowdfunding option like GoFundMe, Gandsy said, because people are incentivized to give larger amounts up front. With GoFundMe, “it’s like a few dollars here and there.” The people who give money can also grow their dollars – investors receive revenue until they have been repaid 1.5X their original investment. An investment of $1,000 will eventually grow into a return of $1,500.
Once he’s reached his target amount — $75,000 – Gandsy plans to move into a space with more production area and seating area. That’ll happen “hopefully in 3-6 months,” he said. “If I can find the right space.”
In the new space, he’ll focus on baking more biscuits to ship out nationwide. He’s had his sights set on selling his biscuits wholesale for a while now, he said. Business started picking up before the pandemic and has continued to improve, even after Gandsy made the choice to shut DaleView down for two months while he and his family quarantined in his home state of South Carolina.
Even now, relying entirely on to-go orders, which customers can place on their website, DaleView is actually turning a small profit, which is more than many restaurants can claim right now. Before the pandemic, the demand for biscuits had actually grown to such a degree that the small storefront could barely keep up.
“We do a lot in the little space that we do have,” Gandsy said. Gandsy brews beer, and does much of DaleView’s cooking, all in the same area.
While they haven’t opened back up for dine-in service (Gandsy feels it isn’t worth the risk to his staff), Gandsy sees this as the ideal time to start making plans for the future.
“People look at this time as [a chance to] to stay put and not expand,” he said. “But I believe this is an opportunity to expand and grow, because we have the time to think and work things through.” In the next few weeks, he’ll look into getting a certification to make and sell Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), which will allow him to sell his biscuits for retail. That’ll be a bit of good news for Gandsy’s west coast customers, from whom he’s received requests to ship biscuits cross-country. Right now, he said, “I don’t have the capability – I don’t have the space or the equipment to do it.”
In the new place, Gandsy hopes to expand the biscuit selection, and possibly include a dinner section consisting of southern classics — think fried chicken with collard greens and a biscuit. He also hopes to sell gluten-free dinner kits.
The community’s investment brings Gandsy closer to his goal – of having more space, reaching more customers, and expanding his offerings. Yet it’s also a reflection of what Gandsy, and his business, signify to the community.
“Lots of my customers live in the neighborhood, and it says that they want me to be part of the neighborhood a lot longer,” Gandsy said. “I feel like I have a huge community – a huge family. I consider my customers my family. Not just dollar signs – they’re actually my family.”
With that kind of following, Gandsy has no plans to say goodbye to the original space. “The original location is not going anywhere,” Gandsy said. “That’s where the business came from.” The new spot won’t be far from home, either.