A group of Hockinson women recently took the idea of supporting local restaurants to a new level as small businesses continue to grapple with COVID-19 restrictions.
The group placed an order of 25 cinnamon rolls at Carol’s Corner Cafe, 7800 N.E. St. Johns Road, on a recent Friday morning. They arrived with a surprise — a Christmas card with $3,100 to help the restaurant.
Carol’s Corner has been a mainstay in the St. Johns corridor for more than two decades, attracting many regular patrons. Recently, the restaurant has been updating its Facebook page as state restrictions have been announced, and it currently can only offer takeout.
“We had heard that they were in trouble as far as trying to keep their doors open,” said Tricia Finklein, one of the group’s members. “If they weren’t getting larger orders, they were going to need to shut down for some time.”
The group organized a social media effort to gather volunteers who would sign the card and donate $100 each. A total of 31 people contributed, including friends and family.
They’d done this before.
Around Christmas last year, they left a card for a waitress at Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground, a single mother, that included a $1,500 tip. Inside the card, along with signatures and well wishes, read one instruction: Keep the change.
This year, as the COVID-19 hardships continue, they decided to include an entire restaurant.
“A majority of people in our group had been (to Carol’s),” Finklein said. “You think of the small town, big portions and wonderful quality and service.”
On Friday morning, a restaurant employee noticed a group of women outside, figuring they were part of the cinnamon roll order. The employee went outside before returning with excitement in her voice.
The group of about 15 people went inside and spoke with Manager Shannon Holliday. Even local celebrity Curly the camel, whose owner knows one of the organizers, was there.
The group introduced themselves, explained why they were there and handed her a hefty card with an instruction: Keep the change.
Though people were wearing masks, smiles and tears were noticeable. A few hours later, Holliday had a better update to offer on the restaurant’s Facebook page, admitting that she was “still crying.”
“The amount of money that was in here was insane. So many people smiling and laughing and hugging, it seemed the world was back to normal for a minute,” she wrote.
“They are a group of beautiful beings who will forever be in my heart. Our community is one that cannot be beaten.”