Jennifer Knox, the owner of The Sand Bar in Tybee Island, Georgia, wanted to make sure her staff didn't go unpaid during the state-wide shutdown. So she got creative.
You probably know a couple of unique bars with some kooky decor and traditions. Whether it's a "wall of fame" for whoever can eat the spicy house wings in under a minute or walls covered in artwork created by customers, your favorite local haunt maybe has a little something special so the patrons can get involved. At The Sand Bar, located in Tybee Island, Georgia, guests have been encouraged to write notes on dollar bills and pin them to the walls. It turns out that this wacky choice of decor came in handy during the ongoing shutdown in the state. The Sand Bar's owner, Jennifer Knox, wanted to help her unemployed staff - so she painstakingly took down every single dollar bill to hand them over to her employees, CNN reports.
Over a span of three days, a Tybee Island bar removed $3,714 worth of bills stapled to their walls to give to their unemployed staff. 📸Jennifer Knox of The Sand Bar pic.twitter.com/Aiz2NBCPxy— Amanda Jackson (@AmandaJ_TX) April 8, 2020
On any other weeknight, Knox could walk into her bar and hear dozens of customers chatting away while sipping on their drinks. There would sometimes even be local musicians putting on a performance. However, after state lawmakers issued a stay-at-home directive in order to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus, The Sand Bar had to shut its doors. There was no business and they aren't considered an "essential service" anyway. Like many other folks who work at restaurants and bars, this meant her staff would have to go unpaid until the stay-at-home was lifted. Taking a good, hard look at her bar, Knox knew that didn't have to be the case.
That is because The Sand Bar's walls and ceiling are covered in dollar bills pinned on by customers who wanted to leave a tip. They have been stapling bills to the walls for over 15 years now. So, the bar owner knew exactly what to do. Now that she had so much time on her hands, she found a ladder and began unpinning each dollar bill. "We were sitting there doors locked and I'm like oh my gosh, 'there's money on the walls and we have time on our hands,'" she explained. "'We gotta get this money down.'" Over the next three and a half days, she found five volunteers who were willing to help. They gently took down the weathered notes - some which had a dozen staples on them - and cleaned them up. Needless to say, it was quite the tedious task.
After all the notes were taken down, they had to be delicately cleaned up. Of course, they also had to be counted. This part of the process took about a week and a half. In total, Knox was able to collect about $3,714 from all the bills stapled to the walls. The stacks of bills they compiled stretched in high piles across the entire bar countertop. Some of the currency, she revealed, came from around the world. When customers heard about the bar owner's initiative, they decided to get involved. Patrons donated to the cause, helping Knox distribute $4,104 to her staff. Four bartenders and two musicians were given $600 each. One bartender donated her portion to another Tybee Island bartender in the spirit of giving.
When asked about the decision to take the dollar bills down, Knox stated, "I can't just sit here and do nothing. I'll do what I can for my people... We all look out for each other. We are all in this together." Tybee Island relies on tourism to keep the economy alive. As one of Georgia's most popular vacation destinations, the shutdown has been incredibly distressing for local businesses like The Sand Bar. While the bar owner is hopeful that her restaurant will reopen when all of this is over, she is still collecting donations to help her staff out. If you would like to make a donation, you can make a contribution through Venmo.