Georgia Bar Owner Removes Over $3,700 from Walls to Give to Employees During Shutdown
"We looked around and we were like ‘we have money on the walls and time on our hands’," said The Sand Bar's owner, Jennifer Knox
One bar owner in Georgia found a very unique way to support her unemployed staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jennifer Knox — who owns The Sand Bar, a beach spot in Tybee Island — recently decided to give her business a bit of a makeover, taking down the thousands of dollar bills stapled to the walls over the years by patrons, and donating that money to her employees.
“The Sand Bar is going to have a fresh new look, while giving back at the same time!” she wrote on Facebook in March, captioning the photo of the project in process. “We are taking down the dollar bills!! And donating all the money to our bartenders and musicians that need it!”
“Figure, we got money (on the walls), and we got time!!” she added. “So excited for this Labor of Love. And a good spring cleaning!!”
With the help of five volunteers over nearly four days, Knox was able to pull down $3,714 in bills, CNN reported. Venmo donations, which she had been collecting as well, brought in another $390 — bringing her total to $4,104.
The new amount was enough to give her four bartenders and two musicians $600 each, she told the outlet.
It also helped Knox freshen up the space. She showed off the fruits of her labor on Saturday, posting photos of the bar with its now clean walls and colorful new coat of paint.
Knox bought The Sand Bar six years ago, though the tradition of guests stapling signed dollar bills on the ceiling and walls as mementos has been a tradition dating back nearly 15 years, when the spot first opened.
And while taking them down would mean washing away a part of history, Knox told Fox-28 she couldn’t just stand by and do nothing during a financial crisis.
“We looked around and we were like ‘we have money on the walls and time on our hands’, and we just felt this sense of urgency to get these dollars down and into the hands of those who need it,” Knox said.
“To see something so amazing get even more amazing, it was so overwhelming and so emotional,” she added. “Times like this, you’re going to see the best in people right now, and that’s what’s going to get us through this time I think.”
As for the bills, all were decorated with messages from patrons’ names to notes detailing events like birthdays and anniversaries, WTOC-11 reported. Some even came from countries across the globe, too.
“Each one is a message of love and now we can give that love in return,” Knox’s mother, Pam Hessler, told the outlet.
Tybee Island is one of Georgia’s most popular vacation destinations.
Restaurants and businesses in the town, including The Sand Bar, have been shut since officials stay-at-home orders were put in place.
With a population of about 3,000 people, according to CNN, Tybee Island depends on tourism to support its economy. Knox told CNN that she’s hopeful The Sand Bar will reopen its doors once this is all over.
As of Thursday morning, there have been at least 429,264 cases of coronavirus in the United States and 14,820 deaths, according to a New York Times database. In Georgia alone, there are at least 10,204 cases and 370 deaths.
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