There is strength in numbers, and SHARE the Sudbury Hospitality Association of Restaurant Entrepreneurs) exemplifies the principle that co-operation trumps competition.
SHARE was established in 2014 by a group of Sudbury restaurateurs to promote awareness of the region’s diverse mix of food choices by an equally diverse group of locally owned restaurant owners.
SHARE’s mission is to promote their passion for the profession and to invest in local charities through key events the organization sponsors throughout the year.
Chuck Barbeau ,co-owner of DiGusto Pizza and Pasta, one of SHARE’s members, draws attention to the organization’s importance as an effective way to build relationships among Sudbury restaurants and to invest in the city’s charities.
“People need to know our members think and act locally. We purchase everything in the region from the cars we buy to the furniture we purchase for our stores. Buying locally takes precedence for us.”
SHARE takes a collective approach to decision making by members working in unison to achieve their objectives.
Chief among those objectives is their dedication to charitable causes. The group, for example, has donated more $70,000 to the NEO Kids Foundation. NEO Kids is a hub for specialized children’s care located at Health Science North.
Its goal is to ensure that as many children as possible in northeastern Ontario remain in the north for the care they need. Donations from SHARE and other contributors are invested in services, research, and equipment to help the North’s youngest and most vulnerable patients. For others whose care must be provided elsewhere, farther from their home communities in the North, SHARE supports families with their out-of-town expenses to alleviate the burden of income loss.
It also donates to the Sudbury Care Centre & Infant Food Bank, a grass roots organization that has helped over 800 families with young children living in Greater Sudbury. Chuck Barbeau says SHARE is distributing smaller donations, as well, to local recipients in financial need.
Keeping in line with their culinary tradition and talents, SHARE formed a unique program to achieve their fundraising objectives. Localicious is an initiative involving all SHARE members who are giving back to the very community that supports them. Several times a year member restaurants showcase their signature dishes. A portion of sales during the multiple-day event is donated to selected local charities.
SHARE’s motto of supporting the community “one bite at a time” underscores this organization’s steady and persistent objectives of giving back to the community through fundraising projects as well as supporting locally owned businesses. There are 10 members to date, each committed to industry excellence while endowing a portion of sales to charity. Members, too, benefit from a mutually supportive culture by drawing on the collective expertise of fellow participants and gaining exposure through industry promotions. It also provides a forum to discuss issues of mutual interest like staffing, hiring, maintenance and access to suppliers.
Barbeau assures that prospective associates have everything to gain from aligning themselves with a cooperative group whose mission is to help all participants and to promote local interests; this in contrast to big box stores outlets whose profits typically revert to corporate headquarters in larger cities. “We’re not about competition, we’re about cooperation and wanting all members to be successful.” A collective group of restaurateurs working for shared goals not only enhances exposure with local patrons, but vacationers alike who see Sudbury as a holiday destination.
Member restaurants are linked to the SHAREsudbury.com website where their services and menus are advertised.
Learn more about SHARE’s events and benefits by visiting www.sharesudbury.com.