A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign has been launched to support the Nanaimo Bar pub. (News Bulletin file photo)

Crowdfunding campaign hopes to raise $50k to aid struggling Nanaimo Bar pub

Owner said rising cost of insurance due to COVID-19 puts business at risk of closing down

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to support a Nanaimo bar and music venue struggling due to COVID-19.

Not long after the Nanaimo Bar pub celebrated its fourth anniversary, COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, forcing owner and operator Sonia Komen to temporarily shut down her business. Since reopening, she said it feels like she’s “starting from zero.”

The biggest challenge she’s facing is paying her annual insurance bill, which she said quadrupled from $12,500 to $50,000 due to the pandemic.

“I might have to close doors because I can’t afford that,” Komen said.

Making matters worse, Komen said she’s had difficulty accessing the federal wage subsidy and in a Facebook post she said new regulations require her to close at 11 p.m., which is particularly costly as 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. is “prime time” for her.

When Nanaimo musicians David Bitonti and Carl Schleppe heard that the Nanaimo Bar was at risk of closing down, they sprung into action. Last week they set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help keep the bar in business.

“I have a problem asking for help and I refuse to do it so it’s nice somebody else is doing it for me,” Komen said.

Bitonti said he and Schleppe perform at the Nanaimo Bar often and it’s venues like that that “truly make a community happen.”

“Nanaimo’s kind of a bigger city but it’s definitely got a small-town feel when it comes to the music community and so I just think it’s hugely valuable to have venues like hers that care about live music,” Bitonti said.

At first the campaign sought to raise $5,000, which Komen said could help get her through the month. In only four days that goal was met and exceeded by nearly $2,000. The fundraiser’s revised target is now $50,000, enough to cover the yearly cost of insurance.

Bitonti said he was “very pleased and excited and completely overwhelmed” to see the initial fundraiser meet its goal in less than a week. Komen said it was humbling to see the community response and she’s “in shock still.”

“I feel honoured that people are wanting to support the bar so much. The support is unreal…” she said. “I love this community. That’s one thing about Nanaimo is when somebody is in need of help, this community really pulls through every time.”

To support the GoFundMe campaign, click here.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Storm watchers urged to be careful after two rescued from Ucluelet shoreline

“People need to take responsibility of their own actions, the district can only do so much.”

Fire crews put out blaze in Cowichan Secondary outbuilding

Three halls respond to fire in storage structure

Overnight shutdown of Highway 1 at McKenzie interchange for sign installation

Traffic will be impacted in both directions, detour available

Furstenau accuses Horgan of politicizing new Cowichan hospital as premier makes Valley campaign stop

Premier suggests that new facility hinges on re-election of NDP government

Wildfire smoke expected to blanket Greater Victoria again

Conditions expected to worsen Wednesday afternoon but not approach levels reached a few weeks ago

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

Man who stole truck and canoe in View Royal believed he was fleeing zombies, court finds

Judge finds man not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder for 2019 thefts

Photographer Eiko Jones delivered the 11th Annual Haig Brown lecture at Tidemark Theatre

Jones also screened his newly completed movie Heartbeat of the River at the event

RCMP hope public can help locate missing Nanaimo man

Gary Alexander Davidson, 54, has not been seen or heard from since Sept. 20

Green Party pins Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding hopes on Istace

Leader Sonia Furstenau was in Chemainus for Sunday’s candidate announcement

Nanaimo’s Jones will draw on her experiences in first political campaign

Retired social worker representing B.C. Liberals in Nanaimo riding in provincial election

Metis pilot Teara Fraser profiled in new DC Comics graphic novel of women heroes

The Canadian pilot’s entry is titled: ‘Teara Fraser: Helping Others Soar’

Horgan vows to replace B.C.’s shared senior care rooms in 10 years

$1.4 billion construction on top of staff raises, single-site work

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Most Read