Sweet Jordan’s, a Paris, Tennessee bakery that employs special needs workers, was one of the latest recipients of the Barstool Fund. The donation saved their business from the pandemic-related financial strain threatening to close its doors.
Sweet Jordan’s was inspired by Jordan St. John, the two owners’ son who was born with Downs Syndrome. Their family wanted to open up a business to employ others with special needs like Jordan.
Barstool Fund Recap 1/16/21
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 17, 2021
Jordan’s sister and social media coordinator for Sweet Jordan’s, Jessica St. John, shared with The Tennessee Star that they were days away from losing their business when they got the call from Dave Portnoy, the Barstool Sports Founder who launched the viral fundraiser for small businesses, Barstool Fund.
“My mom went to the bank and told them, ‘I know payroll tax and rent and sales tax are coming tomorrow. I need you to cover it because God is going to show up and it’s all going to be paid for.’ Literally five minutes later, Dave Portnoy calls us,” stated St. John. “We give God total and complete glory in all this. It is absolutely going to help us for some time.”
In the months leading up to that call, St. John shared that their family had taken on pay cuts in order to pay their staff and bills, and trusted God to be faithful. Even with those sacrifices, they began to fall behind on payroll tax and sales tax. According to St. John, they got a call from the IRS earlier this month.
“They said, ‘Look, if you don’t pay this by the end of the business day tomorrow, then we’ll have to take legal action, and we can come and lock the doors.’ [Our family] got on our knees and prayed, and we said ‘God, we need a miracle,'” shared St. John. “A few minutes later, my aunt [told us that] we needed to check out the Barstool Fund, because they helped a local business there [in Indiana] called ‘Special Dogs.’ We called the lady back at the IRS and we were trusting God for a miracle.'”
The IRS gave the St. Johns a ten-day extension. Their family got to work. St. John recalled how they spent several days finalizing their application and video – and then they waited days for a response. St. John explained that was when friends stepped in to help.
“I happened to grow up playing basketball with Hank Williams Jr.’s daughter, Katie, who passed away in an accident this [past] fall. She used to come in [to Sweet Jordan’s] all the time, and we love her and her family. It just so happened that Holly, her older sister, reached out to us,” said St. John. “We said, ‘Look, Holly, we might have to close our doors.’ And she told us she wasn’t going to let that happen.'”
Reportedly, that family friend told famed music artist Kid Rock about the St. Johns’ situation, who then called Portnoy. However, the Barstool Fund donation was just the beginning. St. John told the Star that the publicity on their story has benefitted their business greatly.
“We’ve gotten over 650 online orders. We’re trying to fill [them] out and ship out as fast as we can,” shared St. John.
Several months ago, Sweet Jordan’s was the subject of an adjustment to TennCare federal policy on supporting businesses that only hire three or less special needs workers. After discovering how the bakery provided substantial opportunities for special needs individuals within the local community, TennCare officials quickly reversed their decision to limit the number of special needs workers they’d support.
St. John told The Star that the Barstool Fund has a greater impact beyond keeping their business open – it protects the unique community that their workers offer.
“We’re so excited to give this platform to our special needs individuals out there,” said St. John. “They truly love people like Jesus does. If people can experience that, then that’s what we’re here for.”
Others interested in supporting Sweet Jordan’s can visit their webpage here.
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