Extraordinary San Diegans: Bar Owner Uses Struggling Family Business To Help Feed Others in Need

“It was a no-brainer," said the sports bar owner at the idea of helping a non-profit from inside his struggling businesses

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Something is going on inside Players Sports Bar and Grill in San Marcos.

Gone are the big cheers that come with fans watching big sporting events. Gone are the friends and neighbors grabbing a drink at the bar. Gone are most of the customers.

Ted Semprini says he’s lost about 90 percent of business at his bar and grill, a place that many people in San Marcos call a hub of the neighborhood.

“My mailbox is still full of bills. Everybody is still looking to get their payments, you know.” said Semprini, who has co-owned Players for nine years.  “I'm extremely worried.”

But despite the lack of customers, there is still a buzz around the sports bar; it’s lunchtime and the phone is ringing for takeout orders, but there is something else going on inside here.

The place is filled with volunteers from the non-profit, Stay Home SD, an organization founded in March to deliver groceries to seniors over 65 around San Diego County.

And while Semprini has concerns about his own business, he jumped at the chance to help when he was approached about using his storage and cooler space as a distribution center for the organization.

“They don't want the elderly to have to go out and do their grocery shopping. That’s what this organization does, they shop for them all through donations and they literally delivered the groceries right to their home. It was a no-brainer,” said Semprini.  

Those who know Semprini say they wouldn’t expect any less.  He’s described as someone who genuinely cares for his community and friends. 

"I'm amazed," said Jim Hays who founded Stay Home SD.  Hays says he’s been blown away by the kindness of people around the county like Semprini who have been willing to help him achieve his goal of feeding people who are in need. “He's here working with his son. Just trying to keep the business afloat until you know until the doors open up again.”

And until the doors open up again, Semprini says he’ll be working the phones with his family helping him in the kitchen to place takeout orders. He says he plans to maintain his relationship with Hays when things return to normal -- the cause is too great.  

It’s the kind of thing that people have grown to expect from Semprini and why they say Players is the kind of place that people consider a hub of the community.

“I love it because that's exactly what we are," said Semprini. “I have pride in myself in, that being in this business for 27 years, I love to make every single person feel better when they walk out.”

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