Tootsies Entertainment loses more than $10 million in sales, still pays employees amid COVID-19


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Despite losing millions in revenue, some downtown Nashville business owners are still paying their employees amid COVID-19.

Friday many lined up to collect pay checks outside of Kid Rock’s on Broadway.

“Today’s pay day,” Jeff Eslick of Tootsies Entertainment proclaimed to News 2.

It’s a phrase not many hear these days.

“Tootsies, Rippy’s, Honky Tonk Central, The Diner and Kid Rock’s are all being paid throughout this time,” said Eslick.

With social distancing rules in place; bartenders, security guards and cooks were among those that lined up for a paycheck.

“We’ve gone from a standard pay across the board to trying to match what last years earnings were so a lot of people are going to see more money,” said Eslick.

He added that they have lost more than $10 million in gross sales, but that they have still managed to pay their employees and that it’s cost more than $2 million out of their pockets.

It’s everything for bartender Laura Bond’s family whose home was also hit by an EF-4 tornado.

“Without this I really wouldn’t have any income to help provide for her. We’ve had a lot of people in our community reach out and help since we did lose our home and stuff, but I mean this is definitely needed because how long is it going to be until we get to come back to work,” said Bond.

When they do get back to work, these Music City establishment will have some loyal employees.

“I’ve got a family I’m trying to take care of myself, you know, that a lot of people wouldn’t know what to do, I wouldn’t know what to do so it’s nice to know somebody’s looking out for you,” Anthony Clay who works security at The Diner told News.

Eslick said they want to make sure the employees know how much they mean, “We operate some great businesses down here and these people are the lifeblood of it and make it operate.”

He said they have taken a number of steps ahead of re-opening and that they are ready to get back to work.

“We are ready, we are ready to open back up. We are ready to social distance and make it all work, but we are really ready to have people come back in and feel the music and understand the fun and be Nashville again.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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