Westport bar owner sells unopened alcohol in hopes of providing workers with interest-free loans | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A bar owner in Westport is considering offering his employees interest-free loans by selling his unopened liquor inventory.
Johnny Kaw’s Yard Bar owner Brett Allred estimates he had around $ 40,000 worth of alcohol in storage before the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
However, before any of them could be opened, bars and taverns in Kansas City were ordered to close in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Businesses rely on sales to take money out, and with no money coming in, we’re just trying to figure out that we can take care of our people anyway,” said Dustin Holland, general manager of the bar.
Holland said he brainstormed with Regulated Industries and his legal team and found a way to get cash for his employees.
On Wednesday, Yard Bar held a garage sale. The bar sells its sealed alcohol and plans to use the money collected to offer interest-free loans to its employees.
“When people need the money, we’re going to have it on hand now with these sales to lend them out,” Holland explained.
Bar managers reminded those who showed up to buy alcohol to social distancing.
They handed out notepads with a list of their inventory, and people checked out what they needed before the managers came inside to pack individuals’ orders.
“It’s a very stressful time for everyone,” said Holland. “Not only do you have to worry about not getting sick, but you also have to worry about whether your bills are going to be paid.”
Nathan Hill is a barback at a restaurant in the Power and Light District. He said he was fortunate enough to have a second job outside of the food and beverage industry, but still feeling the effects of the shutdown.
“Everyone is devastated in the industry,” Hill said. “The second job was just to catch up, but now I’m working to stay afloat.”
Hill showed his support by purchasing a bottle, adding that he appreciated the way Yard Bar was working to supplement the lives of its employees during this difficult time.
“You never know what that money might be used for,” Hill said. “Maybe it’s rent for the next few months or something you need for the next two weeks just to get by.”
Holland said now is more than ever time to take notice of the plight of others and find ways to help those who are suffering financially.
“We are a community, be it Westport, Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas, the whole country, the whole world. We are all a community, ”he said.
Allred operates nine bars, including four in Westport, a Waldo, and several more in Manhattan, Kansas, home to Kansas State University. In total, Allred employs around 200 people, most of them tip-based.
Allred said he would continue to sell alcohol until he was gone.
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