People flood GoFundMe of Toronto barber who was always helping others
Andy Dinner knew it wouldn't be an easy road opening a barbershop during the pandemic, but he didn't foresee just how hard it would turn out to be.
Your Neighbourhood Barbershop, which opened in September, operated for just three months before having to close up shop at 2858 Lake Shore Blvd.
Dinner, 34, didn't put the brief amount of time he was open to waste, however. The owner and barber continually spread kindness in the neighbourhood he's lived in his entire life.
"I've never lived anywhere else other than South Etobicoke," Dinner tells blogTO. "This is all I know. When I go on a vacation, within three days, I'm just like, I want to leave and go back home."
Dinner reached out to Mimico Snap when he first opened to offer a free cut once a week to anyone in their day program, which helps people with special needs and developmental disabilities.
This kickstarted a collab where tie-dye shirts, made by those in the program and with Your Neighbourhood Barbershop logos on them, helped raise some cash for the organization.
He also offered $5 discounts to any customers with a receipt proving they had shopped at a locally owned restaurant or bar.
But with his new business taking a hard hit after being closed for so long, Dinner finally had to ask for help himself.
"I spent my entire life savings opening up this shop and then it has been months of paying rent and hydro for this shop that I can't work out of," Dinner says. "Like that's it. My savings are tapped, I have nothing left."
A GoFundMe he started early this morning asked for $4k in order to help him cover the next two months of rent and hydro bills.
After surpassing his goal within hours, Dinner is ready to pay it forward once again. He has extended the initial goal to $10k with every dollar extra raised to be split among other local businesses.
"I'm going to use that extra money and start giving it to businesses in the area that are also struggling," Dinner says. "I talk with business owners every day. I know what their struggles are and how bad it is out there."
Knowing he has the next few months of rent covered brings Dinner a big sigh of relief. But he won't stop until other businesses feel the same.
"I have not felt like this in the year 2021 so far – the response has left me absolutely speechless," Dinner says. "Now I'm just worried about putting some smiles on people's faces and letting them feel what I feel right now."
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