Bob Marshall, owner of three Bob's Diner restaurants, has developed quite a reputation as a restaurateur and businessman. But, now he's becoming well-known for his fundraising capabilities, too.
Those talents have helped out in a recent national relief campaign, as well as with local causes.
"The communities where the diners are located have been very supportive of me and I like to show my appreciation in return and help where I can," said Mr. Marshall, who has diners in Carnegie, Kennedy and Imperial and is planning one for the Scott area.
It was Mr. Marshall's wife, Dane, whose parents were displaced in the 2004 Hurricane Ivan flood in Carnegie, who suggested the fundraiser that sent $7,000 to Breezy Point victims of last fall's Hurricane Sandy.
The Marshalls had a direct line to the disaster. Bobby Esposito, the roommate of their son, John Robert, at Carnegie Mellon University is from Breezy Point.
The Nov. 25 fundraiser at all three diners was carried off by 64 diner employees who stayed to work even though they had already put in a full day. Patrons were offered either complete roast beef or pasta dinners for $10.
A card good for 52 diner breakfasts or lunches worth $450 was raffled off, too. Most food items were donated by suppliers such as Sysco, Reinhardt, Anthony's Produce, Mancini's Bread and U.S. Foods.
The $7,000 check from the event was mailed to the Esposito family for them to distribute to those in need.
Mr. Marshall also has had fundraisers for Carnegie Elementary PTA programs. In May, the school received 10 percent of the day's sales from a fundraiser in which teachers and parents were servers and bused tables.
A similar event was held March 20. The PTA will use proceeds for school field trips, which includes bus transportation.
"Kids love to see their teachers waiting on them," Mr. Marshall said with a chuckle.
Though well aware of the challenges facing small businesses today, Mr. Marshall pointed out, "Sometimes you have to look beyond your own neighborhood when someone's in need, just as many anonymous people helped Carnegie eight years ago [after the flood]. We're not just in the diner business. If somebody's in need, we try to help out."
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: email@example.com.