NORTHBROOK, Ill. — A longtime restaurant owner in Northbrook struggling to keep his business open during the COVID-19 pandemic had a long-shot call for help answered in a big way.
Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, started a fund in December with $500,000 of his own to assist small businesses who write in. Together with donations, the fund has grown to nearly $30,000,000 thus far.
Pete Weiss, the owner of ‘Little Louie’s’ in Northbrook, received a FaceTime call with Portnoy, hearing the good news firsthand.
In order to qualify for the fund, the business must still be paying their employees. Through the hardships ‘Little Louie’s’ has faced, the payroll for his staff of six has stayed on.
“My staff has been there through some dark times for me and there’s no way I’m giving up on them and this is the way we’re doing it,” Weiss said.
Less than four years ago, Weiss was truly facing the darkest days of his life. His nine-year-old daughter Alexa passed away from cancer in 2017.
In newfound difficult times within the past year, Weiss said Alexa is the light guiding him through.
“She was the ultimate warrior in this time of darkness for a lot of people,” Weiss said.
Pete talked at length about Alexa in his letter to Barstool, who will be helping Little Louie’s with payroll and bills until they can fully reopen.
“These people aren’t going out of business because they’re not successful, they have no other choice. They’ve been dealt a hand that nobody could play,” Portnoy said.
For Weiss, it’s a hand he is going all in on.
“You never give up. You get knocked down on the mat, you get up. That’s it. Just get up,” Weiss said.