Ben Kaufman doesn’t want you to forget the terror he felt on March 10th, 2023. That’s when the founder and CEO of his CAMP, a national retail chain of “family-friendly experience” stores, was shocked to learn that Silicon Valley Bank had collapsed. Suddenly, Kaufman no longer has access to the cash he needs to run his business. He wasn’t even sure that part of his capital could be lost forever.
So the veteran entrepreneur wrote an email and sent it to CAMP’s entire customer list. “It was a cry for help,” says Kaufman. “We knew we had a loyal customer base to support us throughout the weekend.”
He followed that up with a 40% off “BANKRUN” promo code and an Instagram post with an image of a depressed kid next to lines like “I didn’t like the Bay Area” and “This sucks.” Posted.
Sales in the next 48 hours were higher than in a typical month.
Now that the danger has passed with government intervention to protect deposits, Kaufman can reflect on what he’s learned from his experience. It gave him the opportunity to get closer to the customers and community that CAMP has built. It also made him realize the vulnerability of being trapped in one bank.
“In the early days of CAMP, Silicon Valley Bank was the only bank that offered us a line of credit,” says Kaufman. “And one of the conditions of having a line of credit with them, which we no longer had, by the way, was that all deposits had to be kept there.”
Click the video above to learn more about lessons learned from this crisis and where CAMP is headed.
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