Cape Coral businesses unite, supporting Ollie’s Pub Records and Beer

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

Ollie’s Pub Records and Beer has gone through some tough times, so other businesses — like Nice Guys Pizza — are doing what they can to help keep doors open.

Two weeks ago, the owners of Ollie’s held a meeting with the staff explaining that they’d be closing their doors for good.

The owner told WINK News Wednesday that love from the community, including other competing businesses, might be enough to help them survive.

“It’s been our goal since day one. That we would be a venue supporting live, original local music,” said Sean Dunnigan, co-owner of Ollie’s.

A live performance at Ollie’s Pub Records and Beer CREDIT WINK News

Ollie’s opened their doors just months before the pandemic.

They survived shutdowns and capacity restrictions. Business eventually improved — then Ian hit.

“A lot of people in the music community lost everything that they had,” Dunnigan said.

It took a while, but his business hit its stride once again in early 2023, but with inflation and off-season dealing another blow, Dunnigan said it created the perfect storm.

“Sales dropped, you know, way more… kind of fell off of a cliff, honestly,” Dunnigan said.

That led to the difficult decision of telling the employees that the business would be closing.

“We had that meeting where, you know, it was like, ‘Guys, I don’t know if we can do this anymore,'” Dunnigan said. “And a few people stepped up and they were like, ‘No, we’re going to make this happen.’ They did more than we expected for sure.”

His employees created an online fundraiser to help pay rent for one more month. Now it’s surpassed that goal, thanks to many in this community. Including competing businesses sharing the fundraiser on social media.

WINK News spoke to the owner of Nice Guys Pizza in Cape Coral about why he’s trying to help.

Nice Guys location in Cape Coral CREDIT WINK News

“We were kind of told that when we first opened up Nice Guys about 10 years ago that it was a really cut-throat, you know, business… everybody is out to get you, and you got to kind of watch out for yourself,” Greg Gebhard said, owner of Nice Guys Pizza, “I don’t know if it’s different in other cities, but in Cape Coral, it’s been literally the exact opposite.”

Gebhard tells WINK News businesses and people supporting each other is just how it is in Cape Coral.

“I cannot say ‘thank you’ enough. It’s such an understatement,” Dunnigan said.

The online fundraiser for Ollie’s now has over $7,000 since it started last week.

The owner told WINK News that the support may be enough to help them survive the off-season until they can hit their stride once again next season.

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