I don't know Kyle McHugh personally but he is widely known and well regarded in Chicago's hospitality community. (Doesn't that sound better than 'booze community'?)
A year or so ago, McHugh opened a wine and spirits boutique in the River North neighborhood (at least I think 650 N. Dearborn--at Erie--is considered River North). It's called Drinks Over Dearborn (DOD). The name refers to the fact that the store is on the second floor, hence 'over' the street. That he put a retail store in a second floor location tells you McHugh does things differently.
McHugh first announced that DOD was in trouble back in September. I wrote about it here. Today he sent out an email that begins, "I'm now out of money, out of credit, and out of time."
In the email is a new "Save DOD" appeal. It's a clever idea and a good way to help an innovative boozehound (his preferred title) keep his dream alive. He figures he has $50,000 worth of inventory, so he's asking people to open an account with at least $100 in it. Ideally, he'll get 500 people to do that and it will give him the cash flow to keep going. You can think of it as a loan. Technically, it's a sort of pre-payment.
You can use the funds in your account at any time for anything the store sells, plus you get some discounts and other benefits for being in the 'club.'
Naturally, he's using his email address book and other social networking tools to get out the word.
I'm not touting this or encouraging you to do it. I'm reporting it mostly because I found it interesting and innovative, and as a struggling entrepreneur I can relate.
You can learn all about it here. Click on "500 Benjamins or Bust."