Sarah Peters, owner of the Coffee Exchange in Pleasant Ridge, was washing dishes at home when she received a FaceTime call from David Portnoy of the Barstool Fund.
The recorded call is now on Twitter and has received more than 160,000 views. Peters knew exactly who was on the other line when she saw his face.
Portnoy of Massachusetts founded Barstool Sports in 2003. He is known for his pizza reviews series in which he rates slices from across the nation. His idea to start the Barstool Fund came about at the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
When restaurants in New York were unable to host indoor guests due to an increase in cases, Portnoy decided to step in. Although the fund started operating in New York, Portnoy says that small businesses all over the nation are welcome to apply for funding, as long as they meet certain criteria.
Each business must submit a video to the Barstool Fund explaining how much money they need and what they need it for. Portnoy’s biggest requirement that he shares in a video on the Barstool Fund website is that all eligible businesses must be paying their employees through these difficult times.
“We are going to try to save as many small businesses as we can,” he says in the video.
So far, the fund has raised over $36 million to help 286 businesses across the nation. Those who are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to the fund can do so on the website.
When Sarah Peters applied, she did not expect to be chosen from the slew of applications. “I really did not think they would pick us,” Peters tells CityBeat in an email. “There are businesses from all over the country applying and [the Barstool Fund] has chosen less than 300. I am still in shock!”
Watch Peter’s application video on the Barstool Fund website.
Peters was at home when she got the call, doing the dishes. “I can’t believe [people] can’t hear the water running or my kids yelling to ask me why I am crying in the video,” she says.
Coffee Exchange, located on Montgomery Road in Pleasant Ridge, was awarded $10,000. Peters says she plans to use the money to pay rent and cover leftover expenses from their buildout after a devastating fire in 2018 forced them to rebuild down the street.
They had only just reopened in Jan. 2020, months before the onslaught of the pandemic forced them to close their doors once more.
The cafe is now open from 6:30 a.m. until noon every weekday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
Coffee Exchange is located at 6041 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge.