My name is Steve Rabenberg, I have been a small business owner most of my 46 years. This is my story.
I bought Fiji Tan back in 2007, little did I know that it may have been the worst financial decision I ever made! Things went pretty good to start, then the economy took a nose dive. I had studied the tanning business, it had been my dream to own a tanning salon for years. Most said it was recession proof, but I learned better! I have lost some money, have been humbled by this great economy, now I just want to keep what I have left, but this dream is fading too.
My landlord is suing me. I haven't paid rent for a bit, can't afford it. Those of you who know me, know that I am a man of my word. I pains me to do what I am here, asking for help.
I usually don't ask for help, I was raised by my parents to be self reliant. A handshake seals the deal...all that old school stuff. But today, I am starting this site to raise money to keep Fiji Tan alive. I am just about out of money, have lots of credit card debt, and all the dreams I had may be dashed. I might loose everything!
I have four kids. I was divorced a few years ago, and after renting for many years, finally got a home of my own, one where each child could have their own space....a place to raise my family.
THIS IS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS FOR ME, KNOWING THAT MY KIDS MAY LOOSE THEIR HOME!
So, after trying to negotiate with my landlord (who never even responded), here I am. In debt, unable to pay my rent. I am not trying to get out of my obligation, just fulfill it as best I can.
The worst part about being sued is that the landlord wants to take over my space, AND STILL MAKE ME PAY RENT! This infuriates me, since if I could still be in the space, at least I wouldn't loose as much money, and maybe I could make it till 2012, the end of my lease. But kicking me out AND making me pay rent? THIS IS NOT FAIR!
I prayed a lot, I got my answer the other morning at about 5am (like I can sleep?). Build this website! I thought about the lottery, but haven't won it yet. So next best thing? Ask the billions out there for some money. A lot of people just giving a few dollars.
Money to pay the rent, keep my four employees, allow my kids to keep their home, allow me to pay my girls tuition to parochial school. I don't ask for selfish reasons, I ask it for the others in my life. Now that I have started the process I feel better, I feel like I have a direction, like there is a way.
I don't live an extravagant lifestyle. I drive a mini-van with 203,000 miles on it (not for long the transmission is going out). I do have a VW Passat with 123,000 miles, hard to fit us all in, but it may have to do for now.
I have the usual expenses, braces, health insurance, mortgage and stuff. So here I am.
I know no matter what, I will have a great wife (re-married an awesome lady) and kids. We will survive physically, but emotionally, who knows.
I know God has a master plan for me, maybe it is to save Fiji Tan and in the process, help other business owners save their businesses too. So, if I am successful in saving Fiji Tan, and there is money left over, I will start a charity to help struggling businesses like mine. We can all do our part by shopping locally, using small business that need our support.
I could ramble on for hours, but bottom line, God told me to ask for help. I don't like having too, but I must.
Could you help me?
Raise enough money to get square with my landlord, keeping Fiji Tan alive until someone can buy it, or my lease ends. Keep my employees and customers happy.
If the response is OVER WHELMING (like I hope), I will use the extra funds to start a charity to save other small businesses!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Have you ever felt like your landlord doesn't care?
Have you ever wanted to see REAL results, like saving real jobs?
Have you ever wondered why all this bailout money didn't help the little guys?
Have you ever felt like your whole world was crashing down around you and wish someone could have helped YOU?
Have you ever given it your all, but forces outside your control ruin your dreams?
Do you love Fiji Tan?
By giving you understand that Fiji Tan is not a charity, and your gift is just that, a gift.
While you will receive nothing in return, except the satisfaction of helping save Fiji Tan, we are all very appreciative!
It's in God's hands now.
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