Michaela Graham announced today via email that she is closing down the Atlanta Nosh. Graham earned her reputation in Atlanta’s food scene with the Atlanta Underground Market, a monthy pop-up gathering of foodies, cooks, and artisans that operated with clandestine, last-minute style. In 2011, Atlanta Magazine named her the best new food impresario. That venture eventually became the above-ground Atlanta Nosh in Atlantic Station.
In an email to Atlanta Underground Market followers, reproduced here below, Graham explained the gamble of expanding the event that eventually led to the demise.
I’m sad to announce that the Atlanta Nosh is closing down. And with that I’m discontinuing all food events in Atlanta, as I know that my reputation will be completely shot.
Those of you that had come to the Atlanta Underground Market from the beginning, saw the growth. It just got too big to keep it under wraps any longer. It was either : Close it down’ or ‘go big’ . I made the choice to go big, naively thinking that going public would mean an increase in numbers. It didn’t happen. In fact we had lower turnout than at previous AUMs.
Atlantic Station worked with us and we had hoped that we could build it back up, starting over with a smaller number of vendors, in a better location and not charging an entrance fee. The thought was that not charging a cover would increase the attendance. Also didn’t happen.
I very much apologize to the season pass holders. I really thought that we could make this work. The cost for following all the permit requirements were staggering, to say the least. I used the funds from the season passes to get everything established. Then when we saw that the initial set up didn’t work I used every extra penny to reimburse the season pass holders with food coupons, hoping again that that would bring more regular traffic. I know you will be all furious at me, but it was only used to set up The Nosh. I gambled and I lost.
Unfortunately, just when I thought that we might be on a better path, I came home yesterday to an email from someone, claiming that they’ve gotten sick and they were now looking for payment. Unfortunately, that was the piece of straw that broke the camel’s back. I just don’t have the financial ability to deal with that. I can’t pay someone, nor can I afford to hire a lawyer. While the vendors were starting to make profit, I only had losses with the Nosh. I was trying to hang on for the vendors that did start their businesses and to make the season pass holders whole, but yesterday just did me in.
So, I just don’t see another choice, but to close down Atlanta Underground Market, LLC and everything it was involved in.
I hope that I had brought some fun to those of you that had come to some of the events and I’m proud to know that I was able to prove a stepping stone to some very talented food entrepreneurs.
Photo of Atlanta Underground Market by Dr. Princess.