Monday, November 11, 2002

From the In Box: Pulling the Plug VIII
Mama Gaia's Cafe, in Central Square (Cambridge), is facing unexpected and unreasonable pressures around its property lease, and may be forced out of business as a result.

I myself am not part of Mama Gaia's management or investor base, but I am moved to write on their behalf. I am a regular customer of Mama Gaia's Cafe who values deeply the elements of community building, and social justice, which the place embodies. It would be a great loss if Mama Gaia's were closed down for good.

It is natural to ask oneself how did this crisis develop, and to wonder whether their business just wasn't working out well enough. I have talked about this with their management, and the story is actually quite the opposite: Mama Gaia's regular customer base is strong, and its business has been growing steadily and according to plan. Unfortunately, their landlord is now wanting to change the lease terms in order to capitalize on that success, and he is doing so in a very heavy-handed, intransigent way. Last weekend, the landlord evicted them with merely 48 hours notice, in a move intended to show "who's boss" at the negotiating table. Pre-emptive leverage building, I guess!



  • Write letters/emails of support to Mama Gaia's Cafe, proclaiming and describing your love for the place, and how sorry you would be if it were forced to closed down. This simple act, when joined with the voice of many others, can be remarkably powerful in demonstrating to City officials and investors the solid base of support that Mama Gaia's enjoys in the community at large.

  • *** URGENT *** Lend them whatever cash amount you feel called to contribute. All loans, small or large, will be given the option to be turned into stock in due time or just be repaid as a small loan over time -- to be determined on a case by case basis.

    I know, this requires a certain leap of faith: that Mama Gaia's itself is doing its part, and that your contribution is essential and dignified. Remember, though, that we're not talking Enron or Halliburton here, but Mama Gaia's! These are folks with a vision, and that vision is being threatened by one individual's excessive greed.

    If you do want to help out with cash, it is imperative to do it immediately. Mama Gaia's has met the bulk of the cash demands precipitated upon them this week, but they are still short on the order of $5,000. Any amount will help.

    For more information, to submit your letters or to discuss loans, please contact:

    Pedro Morales
    Mama Gaia's Cafe Founder
    -- Martin Hunter

    Thanks to George Mokray for passing this on!
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