Local family-run restaurant Jen’s Place announced in late January that it is having trouble meeting tax and upkeep payments and will likely close if it is not able to raise $26,000.  

Jen’s Place, known for its friendly service and homelike decor, serves breakfast food on Stanwood Street, just north of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School. 

Owner Jen Burton said in a phone interview that the restaurant has been strapped for cash for years, and the only way she can keep operating is to make structural changes to increase revenue in the future. 

The renovations she plans include increasing the restaurant’s capacity and various minor improvements such as new plumbing, heating windows and decorations. Burton hopes the increased capacity and comfort will draw more customers and keep the restaurant operating for future years. 

Burton created a Plumfund to raise the money. Plumfund is similar to Kickstarter, except the campaign receives any donations, even if the goal is not reached. Thus far she has raised $2,845 from 41 contributors in 55 days, and has received multiple offers for pro-bono work from local contractors and friends.

Burton is hoping the local community, especially Bowdoin students, will pitch in to keep the business above water. 

Some Bowdoin students are concerned about the possible closure and are helping support the campaign. 

“I know this has happened before where they’ve been struggling financially and have asked the community for donations. I’m optimistic that they will be able to raise the money,” said Torey Lee ’15, who photographed Burton for a class project. “It’s a large goal, but hopefully Bowdoin students will pitch in if they like the place.” 

The restaurant is almost entirely family run. Burton’s sister and parents are the primary staff while her son, brother and friends help out on weekends. Recently, the restaurant has faced setbacks due to complications with Jen and her sister Cori’s health. Jen recently had two brain tumors and now suffers from complications resulting from multiple spinal-tap treatments and is often unable to work. Cori recently recovered from a brain tumor as well. 

These problems have been a strain on staffing and used up much of the family’s financial resources. 

In 2013, the Orient reported that Jen’s Place was likely to be featured on a reality TV show. Burton said that she has since turned down the offer, despite its potential financial benefits, because it would have caused unnecessary and harmful tension within her family.

Based on a recent influx of pro-bono offers, Burton said she is feeling optimistic that the restaurant will be able to reach its goal in the final 33 days of the campaign, but she stressed that she needs Bowdoin students and families to help her get there.