Safe Harbor rallies around business owner’s family after sudden death

SAFE HARBOR, Fla. — The Safe Harbor community is rallying around the family of Whistle Stop Grill and bar owner Louis Kinney, who passed away unexpectedly just days before Christmas.

what you need to know

  • Whistle Stop Grill and bar owner Louis Kinney died last week at 42
  • The owner of The Nona Slice House, a business near Whistle Stop, said Kinney was a good neighbor and always helpful
  • The Safe Harbor business community is stepping up to support his family with fundraisers and donations
  • Nona’s is soliciting donations and is donating 10% of this week’s total sales to a GoFundMe for Kinney’s family

“Well, he’s a staple here. I mean, Whistle Stop has always been around, and he’s the face of that place,” Jamie Culliton said.

Culliton has The Nona Slice House, just a short walk from the Whistle Stop on Main St. He said Kinney had been a source of support for him when Nona’s opened three years ago.

“If you need help, probably most importantly, if you’re just trying to blow off steam, you know, whether it’s a parking issue, or a city issue, or a bylaw, whatever, bad guests — literally anything you can get from Louis rebound,” Culliton said.

According to the obituary, Kinney, 42, was a pillar of the community and was committed to giving back. A small memorial, including flowers, photos and a message in Kinney’s memory, stood outside the outpost on Wednesday. On the Safety Harbor Strong Facebook group, post after post expressed condolences to the Kinney family, sharing memories of him and showing how the business world is stepping up to help his wife and two children.

Some restaurants and stores are hosting fundraisers or donating proceeds to a GoFundMe for Kinney’s family. They set up two donation buckets at Nona’s, and Culliton said that starting the week of Dec. 26, 10 percent of all sales will be donated to GoFundMe.

“It was great to see everyone come together in town, even though it was for such a bad reason. But that’s what he meant to everyone in town,” Carleton said.

To find out about upcoming events in support of the Kinney family, visit their Facebook.