Cleveland Cavaliers Larry Nance Jr. auction provided pandemic aid

Akron University graduates Anna Young and McKenzie Beynon had just hosted a first birthday party for KINK Contemporary, the gallery they co-own at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland.

About 20 days later, COVID-19 shut it down for six months. They managed to pay the rent, but with their list full of postponed exhibitions, their new website and crucial business expenses had to wait.

The pandemic has forced husband and wife duo Dre and Brittany Wiley to postpone the opening of their first Magna wine store in Bedford until May 15, 2020. They kicked off the launch of their second store, with both sites featuring minorities – and women – owned labels, in Cuyahoga Falls in January.

“When you start a new business, you think that you are going to be able to open, you are going to be able to profit from it. We started almost in the hole, ”said Brittany Wiley.

Robert Catalano, right, and his son Louie pose for a portrait in front of Regina's Pizza.  Regina's Pizza is one of the businesses assisted by Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. in the 2020-21 season. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Robert Catalano, owner of Regina’s Pizza in Akron, closed for two weeks as he pondered how to be successful during the crisis. He ended up drilling a hole in the wall and installing a pickup window that he said looks like “an ATM.” Customers slipped the money in, an employee slid the pizza back.

Regina's Pizza owner Robert Catalano installed a pickup window for contactless transactions during the pandemic. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

The three companies were among 72 that benefited from a unique idea devised by Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. to help small businesses in northeast Ohio hit hard by the pandemic. Nance wore corporate clothing to the Cavs games, promoted it on social media, and auctioned off jerseys and other items worn by the games, with the winning bid being matched by Nance and the Cavs.

Over $ 222,000 was raised.

NBA recognizes impact of Cleveland Cavaliers forward

The NBA has recognized Nance’s impact. Revere High School graduate Nance is one of 10 finalists for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for the 2020-21 season. Selected by a fan vote that ended on June 19 and by an NBA executive panel, the winner will be announced in the playoffs.

Some of the businesses with ties to the area, such as Game 71 Choice Sweet Henrie’s in Norton, have recently submitted the documents and are unsure of what they will receive. Catalano said he heard that Regina’s Pizza’s Game 50 jersey ranges from $ 500 to $ 600, which would take him up to $ 1,800.

Robert Catalano holds up a photo of Cavaliers player Larry Nance Jr in front of his restaurant sign. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Cheryl Hassinger, one of 14 members of the Hassinger family who acquired Ann’s Pastry Shop in Barberton in September, was unsure of their income but said social media exposure was just as valuable.

“When Larry wore [our] T-shirt and [posted it], people were coming in and going out, ‘If Larry Nance says this is the place to be, we had to come and see you,’ ”Hassinger said. “Some people had never been here… We had people from different towns.

“This bakery has been around since the late 1950s, so it’s a tradition. I had a lady today taking donuts to Georgia. We shipped cookies to California and donuts all over the United States, I never understood that until we bought the bakery.

Hassinger loved that the winning bidder was another mainstay of Wadsworth, McIlvaine Dentistry, who has served the community for over 50 years. Alex McIlvaine said he wagered $ 1,301 which brought Ann’s Pastry $ 3,903.

“I’m a Cavs fan, but I can’t say I’m the biggest superfan,” McIlvaine said. “I’m a huge fan and from a charitable point of view it was a good thing for him to do.”

McIlvaine asked Nance to sign the jersey at Ann’s Pastry, with the possibility that it could be displayed in the store.

Erik Linn, president of Heggy’s Nut Shop in Canton, believes the social media ad generated a few more orders and said some customers knew the company was chosen.

“I don’t know if there was a crazy influx of orders… We sold a lot of goods; I don’t know if that has anything to do with it or not, ”said Linn, a graduate of Perry High School, of the company founded in 1950.“ We’ve been browsing a lot of t-shirts.

Linn declined to reveal the auction’s contribution, but said it helped make up for lost revenue during COVID.

“I didn’t think we would be chosen. I didn’t know how far he would go, if he would come to the Canton area or just stay in the Cleveland area. It was a really nice surprise, ”Linn said.

“What he did was very nice for the region. A lot of people don’t do this stuff; he’s a pretty nice guy. I would love to meet him someday, that will probably never happen.

Young said KINK Contemporary received just under $ 3,000, which she and Beynon spent on whatever projects they wanted to complete in 2020.

“Getting our website up and running, getting all of our business expenses, LLC and bank account and everything, our day to day operations, painting, fixes, whatever you need to run an exhibit,” Young said. , a native Warren who now lives in Cuyahoga Falls. “Now we are ready to be successful because of it. We will be launching our website in late summer / early fall. Without this extra money, our deadline would have been pushed back much further. It really, really helped us.

Young and Beynon, who attended Copley High School, graduated from AU with degrees in photography. They held at least two jobs. Young lost his job as a bartender, but worked remotely at his full-time position at the Musée Massillon. Beynon also lost her second job; she plans to return to AU for a graduate degree in arts administration.

“We want to represent all types of art and artists from all walks of life, allowing them to show their true voice through their work in our space,” Young said of KINK Contemporary, which recently hosted a performance in the gallery and also hosts video pieces.

This dream is still alive, in part thanks to Nance.

Nance was injured for Game 21 at Magna Wine Boutique, the same week the Wileys opened the Cuyahoga Falls store. Brittany Wiley said the Cedi Osman jersey auction brought in $ 739, which, along with the Nance and Cavs game, totaled $ 2,217. The Wileys used the proceeds to pay their staff.

After:Larry Nance Jr. takes small business initiative a step further with charity clothing line

“Coupled with Larry Nance wearing Magna clothing, the traction we got on social media was great,” she said. “To this day we are still feeling the effects of Larry wearing our shirt… five months ago and people keep coming in, remembering how he raised awareness, saying, ‘We’re following you because we saw you on Larry Nance’s Instagram.

Wiley said Nance visited the Bedford store about two weeks ago and was sorry he missed seeing her husband. As a thank you, they posted the link to vote for Nance for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award in their company’s social media biography.

“You can’t sell support, so we really wanted to make sure he knew we were 100% behind him,” said Brittany Wiley. “He really is a local hero for the Cleveland / Akron area and what he did was a great idea. It was a blessing that came at the right time and we are truly grateful.

Hassinger also backs Nance by saying, “I hope he wins it. He deserves it. He’s a good guy. The fact that he thought of small business is commendable.

Regina's Pizza owner Robert Catalano looks over a wall of family photos inside his restaurant on Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Akron, Ohio.

Regina’s Pizza was founded by Catalano’s father, Steve and his uncle in 1970 and Robert Catalano, who lives in Copley Township, took over Regina’s in 1996. He remembers the night a friend let him know that Nance was promoting the company on Twitter and Instagram.

“Someone texted me and said, ‘Did you see it’s over there? That’s when it goes viral so to speak. It definitely gave us a boost in business and during those times was very much appreciated, ”said Catalano.

“It was great that he could support the little guys. Just a little helps, especially in the past year.

Magna Wine Boutique owners Dre and Brittany Wiley are pictured on January 29 ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony for their new business in Cuyahoga Falls.

Marla Ridenour can be reached at [email protected] Learn more about the Cavs at Follow her on Twitter at

72 Small Businesses Supported By Larry Nance Jr.’s Swimwear Auctions

Grog Shop, Roasted Coffee Shop, Guarino’s, Rise Nation-Cleveland, Ann’s Pastry Shop, Nooma, KINK Contemporary, Munch, Cleveland Yoga, Inca Tea, Oh Pink! Party Shop, Premier Barber Studio, Courtyard Café, Boss K9, 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, Larry’s Auto Clinic, Harness Cycle, Crust Pizza.

Six Shooter, Boss ChicknBeer, Magna Wine Boutique, Daybreak Yoga, Lucky’s Café, Dough Street, Tommy’s Restaurant, Sweet Connections, Canine Country Club, Bialy’s Bagels, Cleveland Power & Performance, JB Grill, Holistic Halo Salt Spa, Nuevo.

Inner Bliss Yoga, Phoenix Coffee, Fahrenheit, Perfect Fit Health Club, Beachland Ballroom, Defense Fit, HI and DRY Bowling and Beer, Astoria Café & Market, CLE Urban Winery, AJ’s Urban Grill, Ilthy, Hope Yoga, 9ers Diner, On the Spot Dry Cleaners, Core Cryo, J&J Czuchraj Meats, Crazy Mullets, Regina’s Pizza.

GrooveRyde, Kamm’s Corners Ice Cream Company, Poke Fresh, Kavana, OsteoStrong, Stevenson’s Bar & Grill, Coffee Coffee Coffee, Green Opal Salon, Valerios, Escape in 60, Oscar’s Pizza & Pierogis, Bett’s restaurant, Joy Machines Bike Shop, Treehouse, KidsLink School, Heggy’s Nut Shop, Renzi Gymnastics, Fat Cats, Now That’s Class !, Milky Way Cleveland, Sweet Henrie’s, Mojo.

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