Staggers’ and staff turn tragedy into community support


After suffering extensive water damage to its facilities, Staggers Pub and Grub on Portland street has had to close its doors for an undetermined amount of time.

The water damage was caused by some debris from a neighboring construction blew off and punctured the pub’s roof after a storm.

Ever since, the pub has had to close its doors, Staggers’ staff are out of work without a job to go to. Employees say the amount of time they are spending not working can cause boredom and increase anxiety.

“I’m used to working a lot of nights so a lot of my days are filled with staring at my walls, not knowing what to do,” said Terri-Linh Hua-Ayles, a bartender and server.

Terri-Linh Hua-Ayles, Staggers’ bartender and server | Photo by Clara Nishida

While the staff is waiting until Staggers re-opens, they decided as a group to volunteer and help out other businesses nearby by donating their time and offering free labour.

“We’ve received a lot of support from people so we just kind of wanted to give a little bit back and our time is what we have to offer right now so we decided to go with that,” said  Tara Bailey, pub’s manager.

Tara Bailey, pub manager | Photo by Clara Nishida

The pub’s insurance will cover the repair of the water damages on the building but it won’t cover the employee’s wages. Knowing the situation, a member of the community created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the staff.

In the GoFundMe page it says that in the event that insurance ends up covering employee salaries, the funds raised will be donated to a local charity on behalf of the pub.

“My staff are phenomenal, not replaceable. I want them back. I want to make sure they can afford to come back with me so getting them through this,” said Debbie Phinney, owner of the pub.

Debbie Phinney, Staggers Pub and Grub owner | Photo by Clara Nishida

Phinney said the well-being of her staff is her priority and will help them in any way she can. On social media, she’s been spreading the word about the team’s initiative and asking for community support.

“The community support has been phenomenal, truly what Downtown Dartmouth is and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Phinney.

To help out the Staggers’ staff, visit to learn more.