KENT, Ohio — The Water Street Tavern in Kent will celebrate 20 years in business on Friday. It's a feat that comes during the toughest year owner Mike Beder could have ever imagined in business.
"It's been death by 1,000 cuts," said Beder referring to the crippling restrictions he and millions of small business owners have had to deal with because of COVID-19.
If this year has been death by 1,000 cuts, then a call from Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy was the Band-Aid he and his business needed: $20,000 a month until the pandemic is over, which will cover the cost for Water Street Tavern's rent and utilities.
In a surprise Facetime, Portnoy informed Beder that he was the latest recipient of the Barstool Fund, a charity formed less than a month ago aimed to provide lasting relief to small businesses throughout the pandemic.
Typically known for viral videos and outlandish sports takes, Barstool Sports has become a leader in small business relief. In just weeks, the Barstool Fund has raised almost $23 million, and has given assistance to 117 businesses and counting.
For small business owners like Beder, the Barstool Fund will keep their doors open and ensure bills are paid.
"It's a complete relief," said Beder. "It stops the bleeding of everything we have endured. It gives us the confidence that Water Street will be here for a very long time."
Water Street Tavern was one of the businesses chosen by the Barstool Fund based on a video that Beder submitted. Throughout the pandemic, Water Street Tavern has kept its doors open and has continued to pay staff $12 an hour, plus tips.
If you own a small business and would like to submit an application for the Barstool Fund, you can do so here.
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