Gordon Krueger, “Gordo” to those who know him best, has been tending the same bar in Hawthorne since the 1970s.
“I managed to stay afloat through a number of obstacles,” he says. “Double-digit inflation during the Carter years, then we had taken away the two-martini deductibility … we had gas lines, the cigarette smoking ban, there were a few things that took a swat at us.”
“Now,” he says, “what looks like it’s got us is the little white golf ball-looking thing with fuzzy red hair. That looks like it can take us down.”
That same humor and self-reflection served Kreuger for more than four decades of owning and working in his pub, and now it’s served him in another way. After submitting a video application with the help of his daughter, Kreuger’s Unionville Tavern — reopened with its new name just a year ago — has been selected as a recipient of The Barstool Fund from Barstool Sports.
A communal collection plate played out on a massive scale, at press time The Barstool Fund has raised over $28 million from nearly 200,000 separate supporters across the U.S., helping to fund more than 160 small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Barstool founder] Dave Portnoy, ‘El Pres’ himself, called me on Thursday of last week with the good news,” says Krueger. “The fund is a remarkable effort in and of itself, but for Dave to take the time to personally Facetime all of the small business owners who receive funding is really special. They also clearly understand how urgent the situation is for small business owners — the first monthly grant was in our bank account the very next day.”
Those funds, Krueger says, will go directly to paying workers’ salaries and paying off a few vendors. “Our first priority is making sure our staff are taken care of.”
— The Barstool Fund (@BarstoolFund) January 16, 2021
“There have been a lot of ups and downs over the last year, but ultimately we’ve been operating at a loss for some time now due to the pandemic,” he adds. “Things were looking up over the summer thanks to outdoor dining, but the last three months have been particularly challenging. Between the cold weather, rising cases, and various business restrictions, we were starting to question how much longer we were going to be able to hang on for.”
Unionville Tavern isn’t the only Westchester business feeling some relief this month. Thanks to The Barstool Fun, Events to Remember, an events planning and public relations firm started by 914INC. Women in Business honoree Chereese Jervis-Hill, will also be receiving a much-needed infusion of funding.
“Running an event management firm when you are mandated by the state not to plan large in-person events … It has been a really rough 10 months, and the fund has given me a sense of relief that I have not had in almost a year,” Jervis-Hill says.
Like Krueger, Jervis-Hill will be utilizing the bulk of the funds to pay her staff and cover office rent. “I am full of gratitude for Dave, his team, and all of the donors,” she says.
Westchester residents interested in contributing to The Barstool Fund can donate online. Unionville Tavern is, of course, still serving locals per state health department guidelines for those who would like to patronize the establishment, and anyone interested can sign up for the Events to Remember newsletter to find out about additional upcoming fundraisers.