What started as an idealistic goal has become a thriving mantra at a popular Hampton restaurant
By Kyle Stucker
Hampton-North Hampton Patch , April 2, 2013
[The following article is courtesy of Hampton-NorthHampton.patch.com
Shane Pine, owner of the Community Oven, pulls a pizza from the oven. The Community Oven raised
over $35,000 for charity during the Hampton business' inaugural year.
When Shane Pine opened the Community Oven's doors for the first time one year ago, it wasn't his eagerness to fire the first order of flatbread pizza that had him truly excited.
Slice after slice of community love and support was the real signature dish on the menu, and the Hampton native was most looking forward to the chance to share that spirit and possibly stoke a similar passionate flame in local residents.
The Community Oven's one-year anniversary is on Saturday, April 13, and to date the Hampton restaurant has raised over $35,000 for local charities, nonprofits, clubs and organizations. The accomplishments extend beyond that number, though, as regular benefit nights like the weekly Community Mondays series and other special events have raised much more than just money.
"I think everyone feels like they have a little part in it," said Pine. "The community knows there's something going on at the Oven on Mondays, so they start going there on Mondays just because they know they’re contributing to something, and they’re proud of that."
"You're doing something for the community. You're doing your part and doing it together with the community and our employees. I think it’s great."
The employee involvement is really something that has inspired Pine, as he said his staff members aren't just participating in the charitable efforts — they're leading the charge, devising new ways to raise awareness and funds, and pitching suggestions for recipients of a future month of benefit nights.
"It's been really rewarding for them," said Pine, who also said Community Mondays have been successful because each surprise-packed night also features opportunities to get to know the individuals running and benefiting from each charity. "I know how rewarding it is. That’s why my goal was to be as involved in the community as much as I can. I love seeing something I started being picked up by staff and taken to different levels. It's been very exciting and it's been very rewarding for everybody.
"My staff embodies what we're doing here... They're taking [the idea] to the next level of being a part of the community and volunteering and seeing the benefit."
Pine said he's thankful for the amount of support and patronage he's received in the Community Oven's maiden year. He said business was "way better" than he expected, which he said only allowed him to raise even more for the community than he originally thought he could.
To celebrate, the Community Oven is inviting locals to come over to the restaurant, located in Unit 7 of the Seacoast Plaza at 845 Lafayette Road, for an entertainment-filled evening on April 13. Pine said the event is designed as a toast to those involved with Community Mondays and his employees, although he also said there are some secret, "special things" planned as a way to thank everyone who has helped the Community Oven make it past $35,000 in under a year.
"Together we all did something great, and I look forward to increasing that number next year and reaching out and helping out more organizations in the area," said Pine.