Dave Beachamp had a problem.
The world was about to shut down, and Beachamp, the owner of Champ’s Pub on Grand River in Brighton, had 300 pounds of corned beef to get rid of.
“The lockdown was March 16th, the day before St. Patrick’s Day,” said Beauchamp. I cooked up 300 pounds of corned beef. We were just allowed to do carry out, and we have such a customer base that we sold all the corned beef the next day. It was a shock to be shut down, but we were able to survive with the carry out and we did a couple of igloos. They helped out a lot. I wish I had more space, I would have liked to have had 10 of them, but we had two and they were reserved a week ahead of time.”
Champ’s Pub has been a local favorite in Brighton since 1981. They won the People’s Choice Award for Best Burger in Livingston County in 2019 and have won that award over 30 times.
Champ’s Pub was a beneficiary of PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans as well as being one of the 427 local businesses selected by the Barstool Fund, a foundation that helped out local businesses during COVID-19 by raising over $41 million.
“We were able to take advantage of PPPs and we were lucky enough to be included in the Barstool Fund with Dave Portnoy, which was a real boost not just the monetary, but the notoriety to be on TV and in the newspaper,” said Beauchamp. It was quite the happening.”
‘My son happened to see the initial post and sent in a brief history of the business, unbeknownst to me, I didn’t know he was doing this. And then they came back and asked if we could prepare a short video, so we didi and two days after that I was on FaceTime with Dave Portnoy telling us that we were included in the fund.”
Bartender Sandra Overstreet has been working at Champ’s for a couple of months.
“I’ve been here a couple months now and, I feel like things are, I don’t want to say back to normal, but it’s busy again here,” said Overstreet.
And back to normal is good news for waitress Deena Bissonette, who said she loves seeing familiar faces in the restaurant again.
“The people are friendly, you get to know people and it turns into a family,” said Bissonette. You know about your customer’s family, kids, grandkids, where they’re going on vacation, what they got for Christmas. Other places, like national chains, you don’t sit next to the same person every time so there’s not that comradery. Our people go golfing together and spend holidays together. It’s like a little bar family.”
“It’s been a struggle, it’s been a struggle, but we made it through,” said Beauchamp.