May 08, 2018
Three employees of Pennsylvania's Roadside America have an ambitious plan to save the historic attraction.
It's going to be costly. Like, really costly. That's why, on Tuesday morning, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to purchase, renovate and relocate the "world's greatest miniature village," which went up for sale by the current owners about a month ago. Their goal is $750,000.
“We know that crowdfunding this kind of capital is a long shot, but we also know that there is an absolutely incredible community that loves Roadside America and doesn’t want to see anything negative happen to it," said Jon Jordan, the attraction's current supervisor.
Roadside America has been on public display since 1935. The 7,450-square-foot, sprawling landscape features mountains, trains, cars, buildings and tiny residents who inhabit a world housed off Route 22 in Shartlesville, Berks County.
In April, the owners announced they were selling the attraction and were looking for a buyer who would continue running the display.
Jordan is joined by Richard Peiffer — who works on the little trains, trolleys and cars — and Jeff Marks — who maintains the landscape — in the goal to buy Roadside America and "restore it to the way it was back in the 1950’s." They also want to move the mini village to a "more convenient" spot in Berks County.
The Kickstarter campaign is an all-or-nothing bid; if the three employees don't raise the $750,000 before 12 a.m., June 13, they won't get any of the money. Jordan said they opted for this route so investors wouldn't waste their money if they can't raise the appropriate funds.
In order to incentivize donations, they've set up gifts for individual and corporate donors; $100 gets you a T-shirt, your name on a "Wall of Honor" and a free admission ticket, while $5,000 gets a company's logo inside the new location, a mini billboard in the display, one lifetime admission ticket and discounted admission for employees.
The three clarified on their Kickstarter page that although they're employees, their campaign to purchase the attraction isn't endorsed by the company, the owners or anyone related to the sale of the business.