Boar’s Head Lounge in Athens, Ga., usually looks like a typical college bar.
There are dangling Christmas lights, advertisements for nightly drink deals and of course, plenty of swag championing the University of Georgia, which is less than a mile away.
And then there are the dollars — thousands of graffitied bills featuring handwritten notes from customers — which, until a week ago, hung around the Boar’s Head’s central bar. Now, those decorations will be paychecks.
David Hartley, the bar’s general manager, is giving the bills to his 20 or so employees, who have had little to no income amid the bar’s shutdown over the past several weeks.
“For me and my staff and the bar, it’s very awkward and weird right now,” Hartley said. “It’s the unknown, and just not having the family atmosphere — from the staff and also the regulars. It’s been very weird and sad.”
He added that the idea came from his wife, who saw how much the workers were struggling.
“The staff is very much on edge and very, very poor,” Hartley said. “It’s desperate times.”
Hartley’s solution: Pull down the money that has decorated his bar for years and give it to people he knows deserve it. The process of removing and cleaning the bills took a few days and plenty of help, but eventually, the bar had counted up $4,021 – which will be split evenly among each staff member.
At first, Hartley didn’t tell his employees about the idea. A few days later, he sent the entire staff a group message, letting them know what they meant to him.
“[I told them], ‘I’m doing it for y’all, because y’all work your butts off for me — day in and day out,'” he told In The Know.
Then the bar announced the campaign on Instagram, where it asked followers to guess the final count. Harley said the five closest guessers will get a Boar’s Head T-shirt, a move he hopes will bring more awareness to their cause.
Hello Athens, we hope that all of our BH fam and friends are well! The last few days we have been hard at work on a little treat for out staff to help stimulate their pockets. We are removing EVERY dollar from the bar, walls and even ceiling! We are 2 days in and nowhere near done. Stay posted for daily updates on the process! We appreciate everyone’s business through the years and we hope you haven’t forgotten about us! We sure haven’t forgotten about you! Thank you to our loyal patrons who have posted dollars for years. Hopefully your memories at Boar’s will still live on without them!
A post shared by Boars Head Lounge (@boarsheadlounge) on Apr 16, 2020 at 8:47pm PDT
And the word is spreading. Hartley said he’s also received hundreds of messages from regulars asking about the money, as well as regulars wanting to know if the decorations will ever return. The manager told In The Know that as soon as things return to “normal,” new decorations will go up.
But at the current moment, Hartley is focused on his staff, and the community at large. He noted that Athens — a town of around 120,000 people where more than 40,000 people either attend or work for the university – is “based on small businesses.”
With the school currently closed and quarantine measures in full effect, many of those businesses have been struggling.
“Whether it’s a bar or a restaurant or whatever, it’s all small businesses and we’re all in this together,” Hartley said. “Everybody feels the pain.”
After a busy week at the Lounge we can finally say that we have counted EVERY. SINGLE. DOLLAR. 🥳🍾 With that said it is time to announce the top 5 winners of our dollar bill contest! Winners please DM us your address and t-shirt size so that we can mail your prizes🤩We at Boar’s Head want to say thank you to everyone who has ever put up a dollar! We appreciate your business and can’t wait to see you soon❤️
A post shared by Boars Head Lounge (@boarsheadlounge) on Apr 20, 2020 at 2:04pm PDT
If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on the deaf Trader Joe’s employee who received a heartwarming gift from his coworkers.
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The post This college bar pulled more than $4,000 off the walls to pay its staff was originally shared on In The Know.