Two conflicting thoughts in my head about this story.
1) Wow. What a great business.
We should all strive to create products that customers crave. Products that customers are willing to become involved in (emotionally and financially). We should be developing a customer community that people are willing to fight for. Toscanini’s apparently has done this and has a fan base that is willing to band together to try to save Toscanini’s.
2) Wow. What a horrible business.
Making ice cream is fun, but you first have to keep the lights on and pay Uncle Sam. If you don’t do the basics to stay in business, you won’t be in business. And it’s an insult to your customers. As one commenter on their blog said —
“Honestly, I think it’s a slap in the face to everyone who has been a loyal customer to take their money for taxes, ‘lose’ this money and then ask for donations to get them out of a mess they caused themselves with bad management.”
In addition, there’s a business in my hometown that apparently couldn’t make it with just charging membership dues. So they had other businesses become sponsors to “help the kids”. Oddly, the kids still pay for gymnastics and cheerleading lessons.
If your business needs a benefit charity drive or sponsors to keep the doors open, then maybe it’s a sign that the doors should close.