Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy recently started The Barstool Fund to help struggling small businesses get through the COVID pandemic. And a Schuylkill County restaurant and bar just became one of the fortunate small businesses to receive some of that help.
On Tuesday, Portnoy placed a call to Melissa Hoffman-Long, a co-owner of Jack’s Spot Tavern in Pitman, to let her know she’d been selected as one of the fortunate recipients of help from The Barstool Fund.
Pitman Business Gets Help from The Barstool Fund
“I can’t believe this is happening,” she said as she got a little emotional hearing the news from Portnoy himself. “Thank you so much! I promise, the money will not go to waste.”
Check out how that call went down as Portnoy informs Hoffman-Long of the news as she’s “burning Christmas trash”:
— The Barstool Fund (@BarstoolFund) December 29, 2020
The Barstool Fund Helps Pitman Restaurant Through COVID Pandemic
Portnoy became increasingly frustrated by the most recent business shutdown orders imposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Pennsylvania, of course, has similar restrictions in place as New York does. Indoor dining has been banned until Jan. 4 in Pennsylvania, and bars have essentially been closed or severely limited in operations since March.
Portnoy’s a big supporter of small businesses, especially pizza restaurants, which he features on his “One Bite” review series. Portnoy’s business, Barstool Sports, too, was once a small business. So he gets the struggle.
Hoffman-Long wrote to The Barstool Fund explaining why the company needed to stay open. She says the business has adapted to the never-ending restrictions on it and hadn’t found any luck in getting grants or loans to help to this point.
Jack’s Spot has 3 full-time employees and Hoffman-Long says she and her husband Nick, the other owner, do not draw a paycheck from the business. They have full-time jobs elsewhere for that.
“We have three employees who rely on us as their only source of income, and we have built the most fantastic staff of part-time employees. Our focus has been on keeping it in the black, and keeping everyone employed so we are ready to rock once we get to the other side,” she writes to Portnoy.
She explained that applying for help from The Barstool Fund was her attempt to “shake any tree” at this point in the business’s struggle to stay afloat.
“Summer went well enough, but not being able to have late-night events crushed us and our bank account, and now that indoor dining is once again shut down in PA, we had to cancel all of our private parties for December. We are not able to capitalize on late night DJs or other holiday events that paid our end of the year property and school taxes last December,” she added.
How The Barstool Fund Works
Portnoy started The Barstool Fund with $500,000 of his own money which he promised to give as grants to small businesses who applied for it. Unlike other relief efforts, like the PPP loans, EIDL loans from the Small Business Administration, and local money from the closely guarded COVID grants, The Barstool Fund promises to help winning businesses month to month until they resume normal operations.
Portnoy says he’ll fund these businesses to help them avoid closing each month. Since creating the fund with his half-million dollars, other entrepreneurs like Jon Taffer (Bar Rescue) have promised to help.
As of us hitting the Publish button on this article, The Barstool Fund has raised more than $9.1 million and supported nearly 40 small businesses with promised grants.
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