Ohio man plans 'PotatoStock' after potato-salad Kickstarter goes viral

He has raised almost $53,000, and the 30-day crowd-funding campaign won’t be shut off until Saturday morning.
TNS Regional News
Aug 1, 2014

 

When his Kickstarter quest to make his first-ever potato salad went viral this month, the burning question surrounding Zack Brown became:

What will he do with all that money?

He has raised almost $53,000, and the 30-day crowd-funding campaign won’t be shut off until Saturday morning.

As promised, the Italian Village resident intends to use some of the donations to throw a public party — which he has playfully dubbed PotatoStock 2014.

The bash will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at Columbus Commons, at S. High and E. Rich streets, Brown told The Dispatch yesterday.

“It’s in Downtown Columbus, and this has been a Columbus thing from the beginning,” he said.

The party will also feature live entertainment from central Ohio bands; food vendors; and, of course, gallons of potato salad to taste.

Brown, 31, hopes to have enough corporate sponsors for the party to offset the costs so he can put as much of the Kickstarter donations into a fund with the Columbus Foundation to help nonprofits combat hunger and homelessness.

Any proceeds from concessions or donations at the party will also go into the fund, he said.

“These Internet memes are so fleeting,” Brown said. “This is an opportunity to create a withstanding fund and make a long-term impact.”

Such a fund requires a minimum of $10,000, said Lisa Jolley, director of donor services and development for the foundation — who met Brown yesterday.

“We talked about what his passions were — homelessness and hunger,” Jolley said. “He’s got things he’s got to fulfill through Kickstarter, but now he gets to decide what he wants to do with the leftover after all those fun things.”

Brown, who co-owns a software company, has spent most of the past 3 1/2 weeks figuring out how to fulfill the Kickstarter obligations.

In an update posted Tuesday on the funding site, Brown explains how he will handle each of the incentives — including the reading of every donor’s name, customized haikus and “I love potato salad” trucker hats.

“After the first week of people telling us how funny this is, it was ‘Oh, man; there are some real logistics here,’??” he said. “I promised thousands of people that they could be in my kitchen while I made potato salad.”

(Instead, he’ll make the food in an industrial kitchen.)

A few obligations, he noted, are proving logistically impossible.

Because he can’t mail bites of potato salad, for example, donors will receive such gifts only at the party — or, potentially, at one of the stops on a potato-salad tour that Brown said might happen.

And individual backers who had their hearts set on choosing ingredients for his potato salads will have to settle for a vote on what they include.

To help him in his efforts, Brown has tapped a half-dozen friends and called a lawyer and certified public accountant for advice.

Asked how many hours he has spent since launching the campaign on July 3, he said: “It’s a lot. In mental time, I don’t think I’ve stopped working.”

He and his friends do plan to use some of the donations to start a for-profit company to create a website for sharing humorous content.

For now, though, his biggest concern involves whether anyone will show up at PotatoStock.

Although he introduced the campaign as a joke, Brown doesn’t regret it.

“Being able to spread humor and joy around the world has been the most amazing thing I have ever done,” he said. “It’s been a very fun month.”

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By Allison Ward - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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