Owner statement from Facebook 5/20/2020

We brought our staff together as a full team last night for the first time in a very long time and told them the news that we hinted at yesterday. The Chubby Bullfrog (short of a serious miracle) will be making preparations to close down our business this summer. The writing is on the wall and very soon all of us independent bars and restaurants will have to face the reality of the situation.

The revenue generated from this past two months has been 15% of our normal revenue for the same period the last two years previous. Curbside pick ups and delivery will never be enough to generate the needed funds.

The uncertain end of the lockdown measures, and the limitations put on bars and restaurants to allow half or less of former occupancy will keep us well short of the mark to meet the level of sales we would need just to keep going.

We and everyone else in the area finally received the PPP loan/grant from the government in these last few weeks. This has given life and hope to many people. (Hooray🤔?)

The stipulations tied to the money are not well conceived.. much like the stimulus money boosting everyone’s unemployment for the time being.

Employers have 8 weeks to spend the money on labor (75%) and utilities (25%) with the PPP money and at first this looks great until you realize that it is not as easy as it sounds. Free money to help your business stay afloat so long as you follow their guidelines... What could possibly go wrong with that?

Our staff are awesome, no doubt. We have employees who have worked for us for years and years. Kurtis and Dino have been with us for six plus years each and Tara has been with us for nearly eight years. And many many others have been with us for two plus years or more. We love our staff and they love us.

I cannot imagine how difficult it will be and has been for other employers in our industry to bring back employees who have been collecting unemployment and making more money then they did while working. We are well aware of how badly this is working out for everybody right now. If somebody declines their employers offer to come back to work, business owners are encouraged to turn in their staff who choose to stay on unemployment. Formerly good relations turn bad really quickly when money is involved.

There are clever, and in some cases, deceitful ways to spend that money on labor to satisfy the demands of the government. If we don’t spend it we have to pay it back, so wrap your head around the potential ghost pay-rolling likely happening with an eight week window to spend the cash and many staffs unwilling to come back to work. “Hey Grandma we just made you our Social Media Director and Grandpa is the new Head of Security” Woot Woot....

Our PPP loan will not be enough to sustain us long term and that clock is already ticking. We are friends with a lot of fellow bar and restaurant owners and many are slowly waking up to the downsides of these SBA and PPP Loans. It will not be enough to keep anybody going through until things “go back to normal” because normal is no longer an option!! The term being used now is the “new normal” and that is scary as hell!! I want no part of a “new normal”.

Insurance companies will not payout on policies for “an act of god” crises. There will be major restrictions in place when able to open up our doors to guests. And the fear of another round of lockdowns popping up are valid concerns.

We knew our risks investing so much into owning a bar and we made it clear to everyone that our only fear was a collapse of the economy. We knew we are hard working and driven, and we knew we had enough experience, knowledge and drive to make it work.

We would be happy to discuss with fellow bar and restaurant owners what ourselves, the Broken Oar, and countless other bar and restaurant owners around us have discovered. There is no future in Illinois for our industry. Msg us here on our FB page and we’ll start up some dialogue to help you out. Maybe you figured out something the rest of have not already?

The funny thing is that there were a whole lot of people ready to defy the governors orders and just all open up for business on June 1st, I mean a lot, a lot!!! We were threatened that we would lose our liquor licenses and laughed at how hollow of a threat that is to people about to lose everything anyway. That may or may not still happen. It doesn’t resolve anything anyway.

We will continue to share information concerning our situation here on our page. We will soon tell you the “concerts from the curb” story and what a debacle that has been. Seriously you will be awestruck by the way that bs went down. The additional revenue the concept was bringing in was not even enough to keep us afloat, but it sure did bring smiles and happiness. We know how badly this quarantine is effecting everyone right now, and that is highly depressing!! We made people feel normal again for two hours a week.

We are truly broken hearted to be facing down the inevitable truth and we are very sorry to break the news to our guests and even the other business owners around us. We have crunched the numbers and did the homework and it ain’t good for any of us. Unless you have a whole lot of money in the bank your time is running out too.

We thought for a while that all we had to do was keep going and we’d come out of this on top. We have some of the most loyal customers and staff I have ever seen in 35 years in this business, and we know you guys have our backs. Unfortunately even with all the love and support from a whole lot of people our future is not good if we keep going.

Meagan and I will be ok. We are about to lose a lot of money. Our life savings were invested here and we will be totally wiped out but that’s ok. It wasn’t our fault, we ran a very successful business for nearly a decade and the future once looked bright, we were living the American Dream.

We’ll take some time to breath, and relax. We’ll finally slow down and spend quality time together without thinking about work for the first time in a long time. Maybe we’ll take our very first real vacation ever together and get some much needed rest.

I guess the scariest thing ahead for me personally is what the hell can I do to make money now?! My career path has no future and I don’t have any money to start a new business. Meagan and I have a lot to figure out and plenty of time to figure it out as we move forward.

This is our official announcement to the public that we will be closing down for good. Thank you for supporting our business. Thank you for the prayers and well wishes. Thank you for your appreciation of our efforts to support our community.


Best Regards,

Mike Morrison
The Chubby Bullfrog

Owner statement from Facebook 5/21/2020

I have rarely in my life have had a loss of words. I am a strong communicator both verbal and written. I never could have imagined that my shared thoughts and concerns on a FB post could have such a major impact on people across the country. I did not expect to have a post warning everyone of the consequences happening to small businesses in Illinois and everywhere in America to go “viral”. I was just telling it like it is as I always have.

It has been impossible for me to keep up with everyone reaching out to me. I have spoken to my mother and step father, and my family and a few close friends. I have shared with them that I am a strong person and I will bounce back some day.

I have been bombarded for interview requests from the media and have decided today that I will accept the opportunity to tell my story. I am available but overrun with the requests and personal correspondence. I’ll do my best to grant interviews to as many as I can to get to the largest audience possible. I never intended to be a spokesperson but I am here to tell you someone has to do something. I will do all I can.

Message me here on our FB page. Tell me who you are and who you represent and I will do my best to accommodate your request. I am already working through the backlog of such requests and managing the process the best I can. Please continue to share our posts and tell everyone around you what is happening.

No drama, just straight facts, love and logic is all I can offer. Our situation was clearly explained and brought forth from the foundation of truth. If you don’t like what I have to say, stop listening.

We very much want to keep our business going and continue our contributions to our community and provide for our staff to earn a living. We will keep on keeping on until we can no longer. The people who our message resonates with and those who have been friends of the frog are encouraged to donate any contribution to keep us afloat at this time. Anything you can do to help us in stay in business is well appreciated.

We have shared and provided countless happy memories for so many. Whatever lies ahead no one will ever take that away from us. We have always had and always will have big love in our hearts. We have always been charitable people, my wife Meagan, and I, and never would we have guessed we would be in a position like this to ask for assistance from anyone. It is dehumanizing and frightening to be in our current situation.

We are still hoping for a miracle to happen.

Thank you all so much,
-Mike Morrison