Entrepreneur

How This Entrepreneur Reworked His Business Idea in the Face of Financial Armageddon

While a key aspect of his plan changed, City Winery founder Michael Dorf achieved his original goal: to build a place where people could eat, drink and enjoy an intimate concert experience.
Feast for the senses: Live jazz caps an evening at City Winery’s New York club. Source: Chad Batka

The financial crisis of 2008 changed everything. Michael Dorf, who founded legendary New York City rock venue the Knitting Factory in 1986, was just three months away from opening a combined winery and music club in Manhattan that would feature visible steel fermenting tanks and a refined dining experience. Dorf anticipated bankers buying wines by the barrel.

But the subprime mortgage crisis doused those expectations. “We were not only in financial Armageddon, but there was such a reversal in big spending and ostentatious behavior,” Dorf says. “It became taboo.”

He had to find an alternative concept.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur2 min read
#8 on the Franchise 500: By the End of 2020, Jersey Mike's Will Hit $2 Billion in Sales
The #8 company on our Franchise 500 list has seen explosive growth from existing franchisees opening new locations.
Entrepreneur8 min read
5 Ways a Franchise Can Grow Fast
Strategy #1: Focus on your (faster!) fundamentalsCompany: Scooter’s CoffeeFranchise 500 Placement #460 last year; #225 this yearPeople will reward the company that serves them fastest. That’s the theory at Scooter’s Coffee, at least -- and it’s showi
Entrepreneur3 min read
To Save His Company, This Founder Turned to Congress (and Won!)
In 2009, I knocked over a mug of coffee and destroyed my computer. In 2011, I launched a product to prevent that from ever happening again: the Mighty Mug, a travel mug that clings tight to any surface and is nearly impossible to knock over but seaml