Siebert's receives $20K for pandemic reliefJanuary 6, 2021
By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
JASPER — When Jim Siebert learned that his daughter, Rachel, applied to a national media company for money to help their store — Siebert's — during the pandemic, he thought it was a waste of time. Small businesses everywhere are suffering, so why would his store in Jasper be chosen?
He’d never heard of Barstool Sports Founder Dave Portnoy or the Barstool Fund, which has raised more than $18 million to distribute to small businesses across the country. But Rachel gave it a shot, anyway.
Soon after, the Sieberts learned they’d be receiving $20,000 from the fund so the store can remain afloat throughout the remainder of the pandemic. Portnoy has said that he was once a small business owner, so he understands the struggle.
Jim said he hasn’t taken a paycheck for six months so the store can survive, which the donation will help.
“It’s been a good thing for us,” he said. “This whole lockdown has been a disaster for the average small business.”
But more importantly, the money will allow the Sieberts to carry on the store’s family legacy.
“I’m going to start crying, Dave,” Jim told Portnoy over FaceTime last week. “It’s important for us to pass this on to the fourth generation.”
Leadership has changed over the decades, but the store has always been run by a Siebert. Jim and his wife, Jane, both work at least 40 hours a week at the store but are getting to the age where they deserve to slow down a bit, Jim said. Their daughter, Rachel, will own the business after they retire, becoming the fourth generation and first female to do so.
Siebert’s has been a cornerstone of the Jasper community since Jim’s grandfather started the business nearly 100 years ago. It’s provided wardrobes for proms, weddings, Christmas gifts and other special occasions, and the Sieberts themselves have been especially celebrated in the business community.
Jim’s brother John, as well as their late father, Bob, are past recipients of the Jasper Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Community Excellence Award. The award is given to those who go above and beyond in giving their time and energy to the community.
Since Siebert's was selected by the Barstool Fund, the store has gotten calls from about a dozen other states across the country from people wanting to support the business and buy online. Jim said the store has never experienced anything like it before.
“This thing is not just funded by Jasper, Indiana, folks but also people all over the world who realize the importance of small business,” he said. “It makes us feel like we’re not just wanted but needed.”
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