The year 2020 ended on a positive note for one bar owner in Wisconsin, as the found help from the Barstool Fund. Kerry Counard owns The Abbey bar, next to St. Norbert University in De Pere, WI. The Abbey has been a favorite of both locals and visitors. Every Sunday, the bar was packed with die-hard green and gold fans, as they cheered for Lambeau Leaps.
COVID Pandemic Hit The Abbey Hard
The pandemic spelled disaster for the bar. On March 18th, Counard was forced to do take out only. In order to keep customers coming through, he started a “free beer Friday.” where a free beer was given out with takeout. Counard also implemented a “Pay-It-Forward” program. This program helps front-line workers. Counard took donations and turned them into gift cards to send a meal to those fighting the pandemic.
Like other small business owners, Counard was working as hard as he could to pay both utilities and his employees. But then a shining light appeared…
On December 18 th , 2020, Counard received a message from a former employee. Detailed in the message was an attached video. The video showed Dave Portnoy, the owner and founder of Barstool Sports, expressing his displeasure that the government was not giving small businesses enough help.
Counard had previously applied for grants and help within Wisconsin, but saw the Barstool Sports opportunity as a chance to positively affect his small business. This shined some hope for Counard and his employees.
With the lack of sufficient help from others, Counard applied for the “ Barstool Fund .”
Barstool Sports Fund
Portnoy created the “Barstool Fund” to help small businesses all across the country to stay afloat during these unprecedented times. With ties to Boston and New York, small businesses in those areas where among the first to be chosen for aid. With the help of Barstool employee, Liz Gonzalez, Portnoy saw Counard’s application.
Gonzalez, being a Packer fan, really pushed for The Abbey to be included in the Barstool Fund. After the application process concluded, Counard became aware that The Abbey had been selected to become apart of the fund.
Counard was able to stay open due to the aid from Portnoy and the donors to the fund. Counard attributes this to his “urgency” and “diligence” as well as something that Gonzalez called “Midwest Humility.”
With the help from Barstool Sports, Counard is able to continue to run his small business as well as continue his “Pay-It-Forward” program. Counard is also assisting in aiding the House of Hope, a program in Green Bay to help mothers and children who have experienced domestic abuse.
The Barstool Sports fund has raised over 33 million dollars and has assisted in keeping over 200 small businesses afloat. Counard stays in contact with many of these businesses all around the country.
Celebrities ranging from Aaron Rodgers, to Tom Brady, to Kid Rock have donated to the fund, to help keep our small businesses thriving.