However, the news was not all bad. The non profit status
was approved by the IRS within 45 days.
While cash funding was not immediate, product donations to
help build the Mini World Of Trains non profit began
to come in from some of the major model railroad manufacturers. At this
time the world wide economy was not good. Getting large cash donations and
did not occur as predicted and promised.
Unfortunately, without the cash funding, the Mini World Of
Trains non profit could not fund a facility to call its home.
Then in 2011 the Children's Museum of the Upstate asked Mini World Of Trains
non profit to create a Christmas Display for Thanksgiving just 3 weeks away. The
team did create this display and it
was successful. In 2012 a new larger Christmas Display was developed for
the City of Fountain Inn's
Christmas Festival. This lead us to getting great press
coverage that year for the Mini World Of Trains
non profit Still, large cash donations and corporate
sponsors still eluded Mini World Of Trains non profit.
However, in 2013 a small 5,000sf space became available in
the West End / Falls Park area in
downtown Greenville, SC. A good location just a half block from Main St in a
pedestrian area. The 3rd year of the 2013 Christmas Display opened at this
location with close to
10,000 visitors in just 6 weeks. During this time, despite early summer delays,
the Miniature World of
Trains(TM) concept BETA Test version was being built.
Unfortunately, the summer delays did not
allow the large Miniature World of Trains(TM) BETA Test
display to open in mid December 2013 as
planned thus putting significant financial stain on the Mini World Of Trains non
The Mini World Of Trains non profit finally opened in late
March 2014, 4 months late and depleting all of
the cash eserves from donations and the great attendance at Christmas. That cash
was used to pay rent,
finish construction of the Miniature World of Trains(TM)
BETA Test display and daily operating expenses, thus putting
the Mini World of Trains(TM) non profits cash back
to almost zero.
A great opening of the BETA version and great summer lead
the non profit to believe Miniature World of
Trains(TM) BETA display was going to get back on the right
side of the cash flow. Then, unexpected to all the businesses
in the area, the huge River Place Parking Garage was closed by the city in
September for a new
construction project. Close to 200 spaces disappeared form just across the
street from the venue!
The attendance tumbled from the good summer visitor counts.
The Mini World Of Trains non profit
struggled during September, October and early November. But, the 2014 Christmas
Display opened and again close to
10,000 visitors again visited the downtown location.
Then in February 2014 another parking lot was closed by the
city eliminating another 100 parking spaces
just a half a block away from the venue for yet another construction project.
Again, visitors where having a harder time finding parking
to not only visit Mini World Of Trains non profit.
Other retailers and restaurants in the area began to struggle as well.
The 2 year lease for the downtown location was coming to an
end. The owner of the building
had another 20,000sf location on the other side of the
Liberty Bridge. The building was in a
very quieter area of downtown with no pedestrian traffic or vehicle traffic. We
asked the city to allow the
Mini World Of Trains non profit to put up 11 traffic wayfarer directional signs
to help direct
visitor to the location. Those negotiations failed. Directly behind the venue
yet another construction
project started again eliminating more parking.
In late spring yet another construction project that would
eliminate the parking just outside the venues
front door was announced. This was to be a six story building that would
effectively block the needed
visibility to Main St.
The decision was made since no new larger venue could be
found and the impending lose of
more parking in the area of the venue, the decision was made to close the
non profit in 2015.
At this point with 40,000 visitors to the downtown venue in
the 12 month period prior to closing
which was accomplished with virtually no advertising and no parking near the
venue! 4. 5 star
ratings on Trip Advisor and Yelp and 4 star ratings on Facebook as well. The
location was well received by visitors and the press despite the issues.
30 days went by, the display was dismantled and assets
where sold off.
At the beginning of August 2016 and group of volunteers
wanted to continue with the Mini World Of Trains
non profit and the previous Board of Directors transitioned to the new team.
Another location was found on Wade Hampton Blvd inside an
old Office Depot. A deal was
negotiated with the landlord but the landlord never executed their side of the
lease, thus Mini World Of Trains
non profit did not have a location to continue to grow. Our fund raising could
not occur and two
other displays and the start of PHASE I of the Miniature World of Trains(TM)
could not be built.
This all led to the shutdown of the location after 7 months
being in the venue with the landlords
permission without a lease. Mini World Of Trains non profit
could not begin to build PHASE I and continue to
move the project forward. The bottom line was that the landlord at this location
had second thoughts
about leasing to Mini World Of Trains non profit and wanted to 4 star
national tenant with deep pockets instead.
Thus the Mini World Of Trains non profit was forced to
close for the last time with virtually no cash
on hand again but $500,000 in assets to build a museum! As of this pages
Mini World of Trains non profit has not reopened and is not expected to open
anytime soon! The
Mini World of Trains non profit has been closed since February 29, 2016.
We have seen increasingly over the last 6 years government
funding sources have
dried up and competition for foundation grants has gotten more intense and
donations have been none existent for a concept of this nature. The Miniature
World of Trains(TM) concept is
just not "touchy feely" enough for most foundations or they just do not get the
Miniature World of Trains(TM) concept. The Miniature World
of Trains(TM) concept needs to look
for new funding opportunities and needs to be fully funded before it can moved
There is a group that volunteers for staffing of the
concept that are, for the most part,
very enthusiastic and will have the new Miniature World of Trains(TM)
employees as well to staff the
The biggest problem for the Mini World of Trains concept is that it has been
severally under funded.
Though, over the last 6 years, the concept has done very well with what we had
to work with.
So just imagine what can be done when the concept is fully
There is a lot more to this story that will take much
longer to explain in this format.
The only way to build this concept is to fund it up front as an LLC to eliminate
the cash on
hand issues that has not allowed this concept to move forward. There is a lot of
in what the concept is about. We need everyone's help to make this concept a
fully funded reality!
CLICK HERE For More Investment Information
President and CEO
Miniature World of Trains(TM) LLC