Taylor Swift Offers Financial Assistance to Nashville Record Store’s Staff Amid Coronavirus Shutdown
Despite her pop star status, Taylor Swift is still a Nashville resident, and during the coronavirus pandemic, she's stepping up to help a beloved Music City institution. The artist is helping Grimey's New & Preloved Music — a record store in East Nashville — continue to pay its staff while the store is shut down.
As of March 23, Grimey's has fully closed due to Nashville Mayor John Cooper's temporary shuttering of all non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Swift has given money to each Grimey's employee and paying three months' worth of costs for the store's group insurance plan, Grimey's co-owner Doyle Davis tells Rolling Stone.
"We were very surprised, and I would have to say amazed, that Taylor Swift reached out to us through her publicist to offer some relief during the COVID pandemic," Davis says. "I didn’t even know we were on her radar, but she really stepped up to help after the recent tornadoes that struck Nashville and middle Tennessee and now, she’s trying to help a beloved small business in her city."
Swift previously donated $1 million to tornado relief efforts in Middle Tennessee, after a string of tornadoes touched down in Nashville's North Nashville, Germantown and East Nashville neighborhoods, and in other spots in Middle Tennessee. Although Grimey's was not touched by the tornadoes, the Basement East, a music venue in East Nashville co-owned by Grimey's founder and co-owner Mike Grimes, was destroyed.
"It’s a huge deal to us, and now I have some peace of mind as we apply for [Small Business Association] loans to pay rent, vendors and other expenses," Davis adds. "This assistance from Ms. Swift helps give us a real shot at coming back on the other side of this."
Grimey's is closed, but the record store is offering merch and gift cards for sale online; its staff members are also working to add LPs for sale on the website.
"It’s incredibly heartening and totally surreal that Taylor Swift has offered to help us out in such a significant way," reflects Will Orman, the buyer for Grimey’s. "With so much uncertainty about what lies ahead, we’re deeply grateful to be able to look forward to returning to the store and continuing to share music and connect with our community, thanks to Taylor’s generous support."
In addition to her support of Grimey's, Swift has also donated $3,000 each to a few fans who were in need of financial assistance, as well as given money to Feeding America and the World Health Organization. On her social media platforms, the star is encouraging fans to "cancel plans, actually truly isolate as much as you can and don’t assume that because you don’t feel sick that you aren’t possibly passing something on to someone elderly or vulnerable to this."
"It’s a really scary time," Swift adds in a recent post, "but we need to make sacrifices right now."
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