BRIGHTON, Mich. - "Oh my God, are you (expletive) kidding me?"
That's how small business owners across the country and right here in Michigan are reacting when they get a FaceTime call from Dave Portnoy.
Founder of the digital media company Barstool Sports, Portnoy has created a fund to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. It appears to be getting results.
"We asked our readers - I donated 500k myself - to try and raise as much as we could, and then give it to people in need," said Portnoy.
In a little over a week, more than $13 million in donations have come in. And so far a pledge to help 50 independent businesses - which includes Champ's Pub, a fixture in Brighton for nearly four decades.
They got the lucky call this week.
"We wanna help you out, we'll be there, you're in the fund. I'm glad to do it," Portnoy said. "I love the mustache glad I got to see it in real life too."
Known for its burgers and corned beef (and mustachioed owner), the pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns have hit Champ's pretty hard.
"Emotionally it's hard because you go to work, but nobody can enjoy it," said David Beauchamp, owner of Champ's Pub.
When Beauchamp's son found out about the Barstool Sports Fundraiser, he sent an email explaining why Champ's is so important not only to his family but to the entire community of Brighton.
"Obviously, it's very gratifying and the outpouring of congratulations so-to-speak has been incredible," said Beauchamp. "These times are tough so this kind of thing is really nice."
Portnoy knows he can't save every struggling small business, but he does plan to raise as much money as possible for as long as he can.
"This is like the fabric of America, not to sound corny but it really is the backbone, these mom and pop, small businesses that have been in single families for decades," said Portnoy.