Larry Nance

Larry Nance of the Cleveland Cavaliers wears a T-shirt from Munch in Solon.  

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Larry Nance Jr. continues to provide relief for Northeast Ohio businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the Cavs’ game against the Orlando Magic Jan. 6, Nance wore a tie-dye shirt from Munch, a Jewish-owned restaurant in Solon. In addition to being photographed in the shirt, Nance auctioned his jersey from that night for $734. Nance then matched that with his own donation to Munch for a total of more than $1,400.

After Nance was photographed in a Munch T-shirt, Munch co-owner Scott Hersch said that its Twitter and Instagram accounts gained about 200 followers each.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Nance told the Cleveland Jewish News. “Obviously, the money we get them from the jersey sales is nice, but it’s more so word-of-mouth advertising and seeing that, so these people know that these businesses are there.”

Munch opened its doors in Cleveland in 1997 as a vegetarian restaurant, then known as Schticks. Since then, Munch has been renamed, expanded its menu to include meat and relocated to Solon.

Before the pandemic, Munch made about $1,400 each day, but Hersch said the restaurant has been making about $300 to $400 every day due to the pandemic.

Prior to Nance’s help, Munch attempted other ideas to help keep the business afloat. Medworks, a health care organization that helps Clevelanders in need, hired Munch to feed hospital workers for six weeks. That brought in $500 for the restaurant weekly. Although Hersch said it wasn’t as much as the restaurant usually brings in, it was still a good way to keep the business open.

“So, that’s been our focus for our business during this period of time, not to enhance our own lives, but to keep our business alive so we can walk out of here still operating,” said Hersch, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Jamie.

The Hersches got the idea to reach out to the Cavs after seeing a similar story in December 2020. Jamie, who is friends with The Grog Shop owner Kathy Blackman, saw Nance had helped out the Cleveland Heights music venue prior to the Cavs’ first game of the season Dec. 23, and said it would be a great opportunity for the business. Nance’s effort for The Grog Shop raised $8,000.

“I will tell you this, the money does help a lot,” Hersch said. “It’s a wonderful thing. Some of the things that people think of are beautiful to me.”

Nance has raised tens of thousands of dollars for 12 Northeast Ohio businesses, ranging from live music venues to restaurants and barber shops. He said he intends on continuing this initiative prior to the remaining games during the season.

“I’m excited to keep on doing it and hopefully people keep bidding on the jerseys because the turnouts have been awesome so far,” Nance said.

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