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Why Did The Mini World of Trains Non Profit Fail?

Simply stated, it comes down to cash on hand.

The Mini World Of Trains non profit operated under the name Miniature World of Trains(TM)
 concept created by President, Chairman and Executive Director Frank Ruby starting in June 2010

From the start of the non profit in 2009 it was never funded properly thus
not allowing the concept to move forward. The Mini World Of Trains non profit could never get ahead
of the curve. The original idea was to get the initial funding from some of the clients of the
original chairman Roland Stadelmann. He advised he was looking for
something that his clients could donate to that was tangible and he could take
them to visit. The Mini World Of Trains was non profit of this type.

Unfortunately, just 30 days after filing the paperwork for the non profit with the IRS, Mr. Stadelmann

stepped down and Mini World Of Trains non profit lost what was perceived to be its start up revenue stream.
Frank Ruby took over as Chairman, President and Executive Director. He alone created
created the new Miniature World of Trains
(TM) to be funded by the Mini World Of Trains non profit.

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 same
time the world wide economy was not good. Getting large cash donations and corporate sponsors
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 high traffic
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 profit.

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 downtown
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 downtown
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 creation, the
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 corporate
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 over all
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 forward.

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 funded!

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 visitor interest
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

Frank Ruby
President and CEO
Miniature World of Trains(TM) LLC
02/19/17

 

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