Tuesday morning, before his feet hit the floor, Keith Koehler, co-owner and CFO of Westshore Pizza, said he vowed to help a Pasco County family in need.
Westshore Pizza is stepping forward to help the family of Chad Oulson, the man fatally shot Monday inside Cobb Theater Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel.
“It was really as simple as the fact that we knew that there was about to be a single mom raising a 3-year-old, and that’s really where it started,” Koehler said. “Knowing we had someone who was going to have a need.”
On its Facebook page, the pizza chain said it would donate $1 for every pizza bought today after 5 p.m. to Nicole Oulson and her 3-year-old daughter, Alexis.
On Monday, Oulson’s husband was fatally shot inside Theater 10 of Grove 16. Curtis Reeves Jr., 71, a retired Tampa police officer, has been charged with second-degree murder in Oulson’s shooting death and is being held without bond.
There have been several other local businesses that have heeded the call for help. Maloney’s Local Irish Pub, The Hideaway, as well as several individuals have offered their support.
Koehler, who is a Certified Person Accountant, has even offered to have checks written out to Nicole Oulson to be sent to his business’s corporate offices, where they will be forwarded to Oulson.
“We’re telling people, look, bring a check payable to Nicole. We can collect the check and make sure that it gets to her,” Koehler said. “The money doesn’t need to pass through any organization, it just needs to go to her.
“I have lots of experience in dealing with people who have passed away. You’re in chaos for a week. It’s just a free fall. She doesn’t know which end I up, I’m sure.”
The company has a total of 30 franchises, one of which is in Ohio. The remaining 29 are in the Tampa Bay area. Koehler said they will tally the pizzas sold after 5 p.m. today and write a check for that amount.
There is also a chance the fund-raiser could be extended, but that is in preliminary talks, he said. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached out to Koehler and have offered to donate items that can be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Oulson family, Koehler said. He’s also trying to set something up with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Koehler said the original goal on Tuesday was to give Nicole Oulson $5,000. He said with the generosity of friends, individuals and other companies in the area, that number will likely be surpassed.
“It was just really about doing the right thing and helping someone out,” he said. “It really wasn’t anything more complicated than that.”
Checks can be made payable to Nicole Oulson or mailed or dropped by to:
c/o Westshore Pizza Franchising
401 N Howard Avenue
Tampa FL 33606