Imagine the excitement. You’re a small business owner and restauranteur who has returned to your roots, having bought a bar/restaurant after taking extended R&R in the Florida Keys. Your new place in Clermont, FL – Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub – has been open exactly one week, the customers are coming in, life is good. And then “Wham!” The Pandemic explodes and your business is shut down completely, for weeks. The excitement goes out the door and survival becomes the number one priority. Those were the cards dealt to Micky Finn’s new owners, Ron Greeley and his wife Pat. Fortunately for them, they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County and FSBDC consultant John Doramus, and that made all the difference.
Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub is the genuine article, right down to the bar itself. All of the furnishings and interior and exterior finishes, including the bar, cabinets, furniture, and décor are authentically Irish, imported from Derry, Ireland itself. The imported beers on tap and the old country menu further showcase the authenticity of the experience. “People come in here and have a real feeling of a pub rather than just a bar,” says Pat Greeley. “We serve the local community as well as international customers, including from the UK and Canada,” continued Ron Greeley. “Our slogan is ‘An Irish Pub with a Key West Attitude.’”
A great concept with a loyal following isn’t enough in the face of a pandemic. “We had first opened the pub in March 2020 and a week later we were shut down because of the COVID virus,” relates Ron Greeley. “They shut us down for six weeks and we lost just about all of our supplies and beer and food. We had to put an extraordinary amount of our own money into the pub just to stay afloat. Our funds were quickly depleted, and we turned to the FSBDC for advice. That’s when we met John Doramus. He is above all the reason we’re still in business.”
After meeting with the Greeley’s and assessing the challenging situation, the FSBDC’s Doramus got to work on finding and connecting them with resources and assistance. After limping through 2020 earning barely 25% of pre-Covid revenues, they started to see slight growth in 2021. Meanwhile, Doramus helped the Greeley’s receive funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and its Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Then he went a step further, showing them the way to receiving Employee Retention Credit funds as well as how to implement a new financial management system.
“If it weren’t for John Doramus and his cohorts at the FSBDC, we would not be where we are today. I cannot thank them enough,” shares Ron Greeley. “John provided us expert advice as to what to do, how to proceed, how to get through the myriad of alphabet agencies that were providing economic disaster funding. John was the one glowing light in this whole dark episode of the Pandemic.” Concluded Pat Greeley: “I wouldn’t hesitate to tell anyone to go ahead and work with the FSBDC. We are successful now because we did.”
For information about Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub, please visit www.mickeyfinnsirishpub.com.