Restaurant hopes to share flood story with Super Bowl viewers

Millions of television viewers worldwide tune into the Super Bowl every year not only to watch the National Football League’s two best teams decide a championship, but also to see the ads that run during the game.

Not surprisingly, that advertising doesn’t come cheap.

Most small business owners, including Brad Russell, of Pier 87 Restaurant, wouldn’t dream of purchasing a 30-second slot that sold for a reported $4 million last year.

But he just might be fortunate enough to grab some Super Bowl advertising for free, thanks to the Small Business Big Game contest being sponsored by Intuit, a Silicon Valley company that provides accounting and financial tools for businesses.

To enter the contest, small businesses of 50 or fewer employees could submit a “most compelling story.”

That part was easy.

The story of Pier 87 is one of dreams and dreams vanquished only to be revived again through hard work and perseverance.

In September 2011, the restaurant north of Montoursville along the banks of Loyalsock Creek was washed away by flood waters.

The timing could not have been worse, coming as it did a little more than a year after Russell and his business partner bought the restaurant in a sheriff’s sale before opening it in April 2011.

“Our story has been kind of told and re-told,” Russell said. “Our story is really about the whole valley re-building. We are kind of hoping to get the story out to show how this valley persevered.”

For the contest, Russell submitted an approximately 600-word story that briefly recounts the devastation of his own business but also that of the Loyalsock Creek corridor and efforts to raise money to help flood victims get back on their feet.

Pier 87 finally reopened in February 2013, and Russell credits community support for helping make it happen.

The story is online along with those of other small businesses.

Online visitors can vote for those they believe have the most compelling stories to tell.

“They can vote for us or other businesses,” Russell said.

Russell noted that Pier 87 already has survived round one of the contest, finishing second among all small businesses in Pennsylvania.

Voting on round two ends Oct. 13.

“We are getting a lot of support,” he said.

Intuit officials say the goal of the contest is to shine a light on small businesses, which are the backbone of America’s economy.

More information is at