Boris & Horton, City’s 1st Dog Café, is nearing its $250,000 fundraiser goal to remain open

Responding to innumerable pleas from New Yorkers, the founders of Boris & Horton, NYC’s first dog cafe, have resolved to keep their doors open through a fundraiser that has already collected over $200,000.

| 26 Feb 2024 | 02:06

In the dog-eat-dog city, especially for small businesses, Boris & Horton, NYC’s first dog cafe, has faced its fair share of financial challenges. With news of closure looming over both its East Village and Williamsburg locations, a wave of solidarity has swept through the community to preserve this beloved canine haven. Boris & Horton’s crowdfunding efforts have fetched an impressive $200,750 thus far, with eyes set on reaching the $250,000 mark by it’s deadline of Feb. 26.

“What happened is we decided to close down because our expenses are much higher than our revenue. But based on the outpouring of love from our community, we’re doing this fundraiser,” Coppy Holzman said, co-founder of Boris & Horton.

An announcement on the cafe’s Instagram page on Feb 15 said, “After over 6 years in business, we’ve made the devastating decision to close both locations of Boris & Horton on February 26th.” Behind the scenes, the staff received the news a day prior to the public announcement. As soon as the news spread, a flood of disheartened messages filled the comments section, with countless enquiring about ways to support the business.

Amanda Gerzog, a devoted regular, wasted no time and initiated a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the beloved establishment. Following discussions with the owners, Gerzorg posted an update mentioning the funds would be allocated to support the affected staff members coping with the cafe’s sudden closure announcement. The GoFundMe collected an impressive $20,000 before it was closed on Feb 22, boosted by a substantial $10,000 donation by Zac Sweers.

People also flooded into the cafes for what they feared was going to be the last few pilgrimages to their favorite spot in town, adored by both dog parents and lovers alike. The cafe, with its dual identity— one that caters to human needs and serves food and drinks to customers, and the other, an open space for canines to roam around in leisure has always been a popular spot. Since the impending closure announcement, the popularity surged to unprecedented levels. “How is this place closing?” said one shocked customer while trying to enter the café that was so full it was impossible even to find a standing spot.

In a bid to ensure Boris & Horton’s survival, the founders launched a fundraiser and are brainstorming a new business plan. People can contribute to it by buying their monthly subscription packages ranging from $40 to $500 containing merchandise like toys, mugs, t-shirts, caps, and stickers designed by independent artists. They also have a separate donation section without subscriptions with a reminder that crowdfunding donations are not tax deductible.

“The money from your donation will go towards deep cleaning and painting the East Village café, repairing our air conditioning, replacing old furniture, bringing in one more full-time staff member, and paying our staff while we’re closed for repairs and strategic planning,” mentions the campaign on their website.

Many famous New Yorkers like comedian Ari Shaffir and famous Instagram pages like thewildest and Hendrik Von Griffon have made videos and posts in support of the business and are urging people to donate to the fundraiser.

The café is still set to close on Feb. 26 but they are hoping to reopen soon after refurbishment and updating their business plan. “We have a lot of people come in, spend the whole day and don’t buy anything. So we’re going to work in the organizationally structure. We want to be a happy place, but two places in New York City is very expensive. Rent, taxes, payroll, material, etc. So some of our evening events, maybe will have like a two-twin minimum and so on,” Holzman said.

While the website does outline the possibility of returning fundraiser funds if the goal isn’t met, Holzman remains highly optimistic they will make it. “We’re still optimistic. We’re the glass-half-filled kind of people,” Holzman said.