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Furry fans give generously to Fernando; over $20,000 raised

Edited as of Sun 22 Apr 2012 - 01:48
Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (17 votes)

Fernando'sHundreds of furs worldwide have opened up their wallets, giving over $20,000 to a Pittsburgh man who has sold subs, wraps and t-shirts to Anthrocon attendees in recent years.

Business owner Fernando Decarvalho faces financial ruin; his eatery, Fernando's Cafe, was forced to announce its impending closure last month. Fans hope their money will keep it open until Anthrocon 2012, and beyond.

The donations are to be given to Fernando at a planned meetup today (April 21) at his cafe. Over 100 have signed up to eat at the restaurant; several plan to attend in fursuit.

Update: $21,000 was handed over by "Anthrocons"; WTAE coverage - event stream [Dobie] (donations handed over at 33:33). Fernando expressed his thanks, while noting that his landlord has another potential renter in negotiation for his space after June.

Anthrocon CEO Uncle Kage solicited donations to Fernando in a LiveJournal post and video appeal, in which he said that "the first Pittsburgh businessman to roll out the welcome mat" and "our best friend in the city" was "going to have to shut down":

Fernando realized last year that he was not going to be able to stay in business much longer. But he was desperate to stay in business just long enough for one more Anthrocon. He was not able to make it. He finds himself now, deep in debt, with no way to pay it off.

Just hours later, the donations were flooding in. By the third day, over $8,800 had been sent from more than 250 donors in 6 countries. Fizz Otter raised $500 from the sale of glow badges, and entertainer 2 Gryphon promised a "secret show", and a private party to those giving $100. According to Yappy Slyfox, Fernando has debt of $35,000; $4,000 would keep his cafe open until Anthrocon, while ~$10,000 would tide the business over until AC2013.

Restaurants are a risky business, and the current economic climate has shuttered many businesses formerly frequented by Anthrocon attendees. Cory's Subs has closed, to be replaced by Lesvos Gyros - while the Steel City Diner's replacement, Big Moma's, has itself been replaced. While these had not gone to the same lengths as Fernando's to welcome fans, some furs still questioned giving money to support a for-profit business.

As with all gifts to individuals, the donations are not tax-deductible. Fernando should not owe tax on them, as long as there is no consideration (such as a promise to keep his cafe open through Anthrocon 2012).


Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (18 votes)

Not impressed. Furs out there make appeals for others with serious illnesses or crisises - like the recent appeals for Cookie's cancer treatment - and get hardly anything. Uncle Kage's friend needs money for a BUSINESS and suddenly there's $20k on the table. Stay classy, furries.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (13 votes)

There are worse things people do with their money. Such as political donations. If a politican's words aren't powerful enough to stand without a penny to their name then they shouldn't be in office. I think it should be the law that a president candidate can only use 1 million dollars in the duration of their campaign. If we want a leader who can run a country efficiently we will never get one as long as there is no spending limit, because they'll bring that "no spending limit" behavior into the house.

It is always the greatest of ironys to me is that those whom complain about the government taking too much of their money are those that give the most their money voluntarily to government/political organizations. If every penny spent on them were given as a payment for the American debt, there probably wouldn't be any at this point.

This isn't even the worse cause Kage backed. There was that whole 2 Gryphon Eurofrence debacle a few years back in the midst of probably the worst part of the recession where he was trying to get money raised so that 2 could go with him to Eurofrence after he had announced he couldn't go. Are Kage's charity's always a bit self serving and aimed at his friends? One could argue that, but these days I'm hard pressed to find someone who didn't promote causes because they were in some way self serving. You never see anyone promote a cause that's against their own interests.

That's why I don't see charity as an act of good these days unless it is done anonymously, otherwise it is at best an act of symbiosis. I mean there are furries who are donating to Fernando as much to stick it to the businesses that weren't so kind to them as it was for his kindness. Therefore it's a way for businesses around the world to take a signal about their treatment of us.

As far as Cookie there have been donations for furry organizations, and I would think a non-furry could ask "you know just because they're a furry they get 100 bucks from this KittylovesMonster place, that's kind of discriminatory my uncle has cancer where is my 100 bucks from this KittylovesMonster, they don't care about cancer, they just care about furries."

Personally I'm trying to pay my own debts first and people would say "that's self serving" not if I'm paying them early. Cause then I save money on something called "interest" which is just money being paid for absolutely no reason other then I can delay the inevitable money to be extracted out of my account over the course of several years. My goal is to be out of debt completely by 30 years of age. What this does is increase my income indirectly and when I have more money myself I can use more money to help others.

Debt is it's own cancer, it's one people get into voluntarily but it can take the wind out of one's life if not handled correctly. Back when I started college I didn't think about debt too much because I didn't have to make payments on it. But then you look at it and go... Well if I pay that 900 bucks that's left on my bill now as opposed to waiting 5 years I'll save 300 dollars because I'll end up paying 1200 at the end. That 300 dollars can buy quite a bit, even charity, even against another loan which will save you even more.

As far as Furnandos goes I would criticize that he did open up a second shop not too long ago, which probably was a cause of his debt issue he probably took a gamble on it being more profitable but apparently it wasn't, if I were him I would try to sell the local that is further from anthrocon at this point to cut the losses. There was a smaller grocery chain I worked at that also did a move like that which I was critical of because they did it in a city that already had a walmart super center and they did so after just getting out of chapter 11 bankruptcy. It wasn't to my surprise that after I had left they were no longer in business. In fact they had to sell that new store only 2 years after obtaining it. The worst part it wasn't a small business, so the people whose decision caused the mess still got paid millions before the business went south while those working for them had their wages slashed by the new incoming bosses.

In conclusion though, people spend money, they always will spend money. They'll always spend money on "stupid" things. However, it's their money to spend. The thing of the matter is, is that if the Fernando's charity wasn't happen would you be angry with the "hardly anything" gifts given to Cookie? Or would you see those gifts for what they are? It's is sort of insulting to those that donated to Cookie so far that you call their gifts "hardly anything". And trust me if Cookie's donation were the biggest thing going right now people would complain about how their friend's problems aren't getting as much attention either. It's monetary relativism. At the very least you could have provided a link to his charity donation site after finding it for the second time I notice the goal is now 5,000 it was 900 when it was first posted to my twitter feed.

Why was the goal $900 dollars you ask? Well here is your answer . Hmm... so furries actually SURPASSED that goal too? And you're trying to make us feel BAD about that? I say to you, good day.

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (8 votes)

That charity donation thing is nothing to do with Cookie, just sayin', I don't know where you got that idea. The second one from Mearu is related. I know Cookie so I can tell you that for a fact. She is still struggling with payments:

And I'm not angry about it. I just think it's very strange and a little sad that people are wiling to throw their money at a particular failing business because a "furry celebrity" says jump. Because really, that's the only reason.

And I think Kage's fundraising for 2 was disgraceful then as it is now.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (7 votes)

My mistake then I thought they were both the same because they were both cancer related and the number of the goal on the prior site matched the exact amount given on the blog... How many furries have cancer that need 900 bucks anyway? It seems like the odds of both things aligning are just really slim. My luck I suppose.

But I don't think it should come as a surprise that when people of political/celebrity clout say "jump" people tend to do it, even if that jump is in front of a bus. As I said, there are worse things to ask for. I mean the guy did take a brick to the face for dealing with a customer harassing furry patrons, that is a variable involved here, not just the Kage thing in fact people were asking about donations before Kage picked up on it.

I don't see this as equal to the 2 vacation donation drive in the slightest, and at least he didn't go up to you and go "As soon as Cookie return as much to the fandom as Fernando does, I'll be happy to help them out as well." like he did to one LJ user criticizing the 2 drive. There was alot more people griping over that one then this one in my general feel of both situations because at least Kage seemed a bit more humble and the cause didn't seem as self centered.

I mean he basically was saying "2 has to come I won't be the same without him there." Not but a day before he started the charity. In the Fernando case people were asking about the possibility of donation BEFORE Kage brought it forth.

Also something in me doubts 2 Gryphon got 20,000 dollars for that particular drive because of how bad it was handled, and more importantly what the donations were for, despite it being Kage the one asking. If 20K was donated then Kage wouldn't have had to use his reward points to upgrade 2's flight to first class. To me that shows there is more then the whole Kage factor when considering the outcome of the donation size.

I mean, I don't personally know Cookie (which the previous comment made that obvious enough) however I do recognize some of the names on her shouts/watch list, and they aren't all that low on the furry food chain, and I'm surprised they haven't been drawing attention to this issue. I mean, information is the key to success and you don't need Kage to do it. I mean, the best way to combat a centralized power structure and celebrity is to to mobilize despite not having the central figure on board, and that will never happen if people don't take initiative themselves. You don't need Kage to help this fur, you just need the help of others coming together Kage or no.

Of course the logic behind the complaint is "Well all this money that is being donated to Fernando should have went instead to Cookie." That takes a particular variable out of account, if the Fernando thing were not happening at all would the amount given to Cookie change should all other variables have stayed the same? The answer to that question is no. In fact, it would have probably been less, because now that you have brought this up here I'm sure Cookie will be receiving donations she would have not have gotten otherwise. If this Fernando charity would have happened you would not have felt the need to complain about the donation lack on Flayrah and thus in a way it indirectly helped that cause.

I still stand by my words though that you should not be spitting upon gifts given despite how small they are, it makes the recipient seem ungrateful. Why would I donate to someone when my donation will be perceived as "hardly anything"?

Your rating: None Average: 1.1 (7 votes)

Furries want to fight cancer?

Then stop handing over money to the narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, lying likes of Allan Greenwald, and grow enough of a brain to stop falling for transparently obvious con-tricks ("I'm Japanese, I don't look Japanese or speak Japanese, but I am Japanese and my sister died in the tsunami. HELP PLZ!!!").

Cancer? These people ARE a fucking cancer!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

If you are implying that Cookie is exaggerating her condition she has a photo of herself without hair 2 months ago, excessive hair loss is a side effect of Chemotherapy and she has plenty of photos of herself prior to that, she was a member since 2009. So yeah, falling for scam artists is bad, but believing everyone is one as a result is no better.

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (8 votes)

Soniou I under stand what you are saying about debt. I am going though the same thing; I have 22,000 in stupid debt, most in collections. My debt was partly due to a failed business opportunity and mostly part of my own stupidity. I going the Dave Ramsey route on it.
Still it is nice to hear Furries are very chariable but still I am sure this is NOT a good idea to keep Frnando's open, perhaps OK to stay open until the last day of Anthrocon 2012 as a last hurah. I am more concern furries enabling his bad business decisions and tempting irresponsibility thus making a bad situation even worst. Moreover we are not helping Fernando to give unconditionally. The problem is Fernando is "stocking his shelves with debt" I did the same with an on line balloon ans party business. It started to take off when th illusion of my success went away with the housing bubble.

Now I do not think Fernando is a bad or dumb person,I see him what he did for the furry community, It would be better for Fernando that we help him make more wiser ans better financial decisions. I advice I would say for FFrnando is to get good debt and business counseling and use the money to pay down much debt as possible.

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (8 votes)

A few tidbits from the event stream (the meat of which starts at 33:33).
* Over 500 people from eight different countries donated
* Apparently this was organized two weeks ago
* About two years ago Fernando lost about 25% of his business in the recession
* Fernando's fursona would be a jaguar
* He'll probably be calling into the Funday PawPet Show tomorrow (maybe around 6:30 Eastern)

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

I start the video and all I can think of is a Fire Marshal crying somewhere.

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (7 votes)

Better for furs to give money to this, than to the likes of Lupine Assassin yet a-bloody-gain.

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (8 votes)

This made me happy. I know it's not cancer, an animal shelter, or the hungry but it definitely made a difference to this man and shame on those who would not see that, and rather just criticize.

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (8 votes)

Bravo, Equivamp Bravo

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (6 votes)

I'd be curious about why he was going out of business. I've been running a business for 8 years. If mine was going under I'd either raise prices, or use bankruptcy for it's intended purpose, rather than throw good money after bad. It just seems kind of questionable. But it's none of my business if people feel like they're doing something good for what looks like a great guy. I hope it turns out well. Restaurants are supposed to be tough businesses no matter what.

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (5 votes)

The cold hard fact is that theses restaurants do not make a lot of business outside of Anthrocon. I remembered talking to a server at the Steel City Diner (the year before it closed), and she said Anthrocon was one the few times that the place actually got busy; aside from a small to mid-sized crowd from the business people for lunch, it rarely got that full. It wasnt enough to keep the place up and it fell though. Opening a business in Pittsburgh itself is risky considering the economic crisis has not been kind to the city, and ever since the 1960s the population has declined twice as it used to be.

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (5 votes)

Sounds like its the worst kind of business to run in the worst place to run that business.

If you aren't franchisee of a multi-bajillion dollar corporation that can both afford the loss and already has a built in customer base, have a lot of money to waste to start with, or just really freaking lucky, you can pretty much guarantee your new restaurant won't last forever. I've heard this from restaurant owners before the economy went kablooey.

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (5 votes)

Given that, it would be extremely unfortunate for Anthrocon if one of the few nearby restaurants disappeared two months before the convention, leaving scant time for a replacement - if anyone tried, considering past history.

Now, though, Anthrocon has a guaranteed feedery likely to offer even greater discounts to attendees than before. Funny how that works out . . .

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

The final count: $23,887 + €10. In related news, Fernando's has been renamed (perhaps temporarily) to the Furryland Cafe; the change was recieved dubiously by furs.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

I would agree with the theme park comment, naming convention is that "{Noun} + land" is typically what you name a theme park in the business world. Blame Disney for this.

The second thing is while it is a nice gesture to honor those who donated to him, he should be trying to get his business to be more profitable so he isn't in the same position a few years down the road. A name change in a business is a big deal. It's a big deal anywhere. Take it from a fur with two names.

The name Furryland may appeal to the furries as a target audience, but the thing is that's not where his business is struggling. He's having a problem garnering a general audience for the rest of the 51 weeks of the year. Furnando once said if there were 3 ACs then he could close down for the rest of the year. This means that the rest of the year he doesn't fair to well at all because that 1 week = 3 months of business goes to 51 weeks < 6 months of business. As much as there has been an influx of permanent resident furries to Pittsburgh over the last few years, they're still a niche. I really hope that, despite his kind gesture that Fernando isn't making his restaurant a niche market.

I hope that I'm wrong that the name would have a negative impact, and I hope he's successful, though given this something tells me it's not a good idea. Hopefully this will be one of those times I'm wrong.

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a developer, editor and Kai Norn from London, United Kingdom, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.