When a popular Toronto bar, called Swan Dive posted that it was struggling to pay the rent through the pandemic, customers came out to help. Owner Abra Shiner was trying to keep her pub going through lockdown by operating as a bottle shop, strictly limited to curbside pickup and delivery due to Ontario locking down again. But it was becoming very clear that the costs of trying to run that way were just too high.
She decided to be honest about her predicament on social media and her post went viral. “We were blowing through our savings and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pay rent towards the end of the month. So, I wrote on Facebook asking people to come buy the beer we had in our stock room… and it worked. The post went viral” Shiner said. Shiner’s social media plea soon had over 20,000 views, and people from all over the Brockton Village neighborhood were showing up to save beer, and their beloved bar. “Like really, if you guys don’t come buy all this beer we won’t have enough to pay our rent, YOU LIKE BEER, COME GET SOME!!!” Shiner wrote on the bar’s account while informing her customers that the bar would be closing down for a spell.
Within a few days, the Swan Dive had off-loaded almost all of its stock of craft beer. “People just started coming out of the woodwork, customers we hadn’t seen in a long time were driving in from out of town,” Shiner said, noting that more than half of the customers were new faces. “We’ve been saved, I was afraid we were going to have to go out of business,” Shiner said.
The Swan Dive carried about 35 different craft beers. The bar usually has two or three cases of each in stock. According to Shiner, she was able to sell off more than 90 cases of beer. In the end, she was left with only two in her stock room. Combined with a government rent subsidy, the money the community provided in recent beer sales will keep them going until spring when it can safely open its doors once again. “You guys are pretty darn great,” Shiner posted to the Swan Dive’s Facebook fans. “What wonderful people you all are.”
Many businesses are struggling right now and the holiday season is here. Supporting your local favorites with gift card and goods purchases may just be what keeps them running and you never know how much those sales could matter.