In a treacherous reality TV landscape littered with shows about Alaska, shows about gold mining in Alaska, and shows about kinda-sorta living in Alaska, Milwaukee Blacksmith proved to be an unlikely breath of fresh air in 2016. The History Channel show followed the Knapp family—already well-known in Milwaukee—and showed off their talents and quirks to the world. But now, in a development that doesn’t appear to be reality-TV scripted, the Knapps are turning to Kickstarter to help find a new home for their family business.
“We’ve lost our building and need a new one!!” proclaims the Kickstarter campaign. “Help Milwaukee Blacksmith keep their family business going in a forever home.” From there, the Knapps reveal the details of their plight:
“Family businesses run like most families. Paycheck to paycheck. When obstacles come up it can be hard to find a way to keep going. Our landlord sent an email telling us we would have to be out by the end of February. 20 days notice and nowhere to go. Supporting both our business and our family means there isn’t always an emergency fund to fall back on. While we can try to buy a little more time, the bottom line is the building is sold and we have to move on.
“Many shops take a hit like losing their building and fold. We at Milwaukee Blacksmith are not going down without a fight and a little help from our friends. We have spent 11 years growing this shop and our School because Milwaukee means the world to us and sharing our craft is so important to us.”
Rewards for chipping in include everything from a “mystery bag of iron” ($25 or more) and a hand forged BBQ set ($200 or more), to a custom-made project ($1,000 or more) and a private party at Milwaukee Blacksmith’s new home ($5,000 or more). As of Wednesday morning, the Knapps have raised nearly $7,500 of their $25,000 goal.