NewRoads Mazda in Newmarket has named three restaurants as Local Legends as part of a nationwide campaign through Mazda Canada.
Mazda Canada gave each local dealership $5,000 to distribute to local businesses in their communities.
The local NewRoads group had to choose a bricks-and-mortar business to support as Local Legends, so they turned to the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce for guidance.
Rachel Hawtin, community liaison with NewRoads, said they found out that restaurants were still struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said they also asked the chamber about businesses that had been giving back.
“It was important to us not only to give money to someone who needs it but also someone who has gone out of their way to help people during these trying times,” she said.
Cachet Supper Club, The Sociable Pub and Olde Village Free House were all selected as Local Legends.
“We would have loved to give money to every single restaurant in Newmarket, but these are just the three that stood out. I’m sure there were others that had done similar things,” Hawtin said.
Each restaurant was given $2,000, Hawtin said, with NewRoads adding the extra funds to ensure all three restaurants could receive an equal amount.
Cachet was selected for its transition from dine-in to delivery, creating more local jobs by hiring delivery drivers. They also offered online cooking classes throughout and gave their time to support the local food bank.
Jennifer McLachlan, owner at Cachet, said they were surprised but happy to be chosen.
"It was such an honour," she said. “It was such a community feeling. Just feeling recognized by your business neighbours.”
McLachlan knew immediately that she wanted to split the money among her staff.
“I don’t have a business without my staff. Service is the difference of a restaurant and a grocery store," she said. “It wasn’t me, there’s an 's' on the legends and that really was my team, dodging and weaving and learning new protocols and being safe.”
The Sociable Pub was chosen as a small, family business for its contributions at the beginning of the pandemic, when they opened up their kitchen for two weeks to give free food to first responders and frontline workers.
“When we’re not doing anything at least it gives us a little bit of mental comfort, motivation, encouragement to do something, somewhere, somehow," owner Deepak Sood said.
He said it felt right for them to do whatever they could to help.
"We are in this profession not by chance, we are in this business by our own choice and passion. So when everything was closed, we planned to contribute something (for) people are in a stressful environment, like where these guys were working,” he said.
Sood said he was happy to be recognized by Mazda as a small, family business.
They will be using their money for marketing on social media and also for banners around their building.
Olde Village was chosen because they created cOVid beer with proceeds going to support Southlake Regional Health Centre. At the start of the pandemic, they also gave discounted meals to hospital staff and frontline workers.
For owner Al Cockburn, giving is what he is all about.
“I am for sure a charity guy,” he said. “I am all about community and charities.”
He said with the lager, they sold more than 600 cases and $5 from each sale was given to Southlake.
Now with the pandemic and potential restriction looming, Cockburn said being names a Local Legend means a lot.
"The pandemic has not been good for business. I think everyone can agree that restaurants have been hit pretty hard," he said.
With his $2,000 he's going to keep it inside the community and use local business Minute Man Press to promote Olde Village, Minute Man and NewRoads, "just to make things better for everyone.”
“Newmarket’s like the greatest town of all time. If we can do one thing to promote a bunch of things that’s what we want to do," he said.
This was Mazda Canada’s first year for the Local Legends campaign, but Hawtin said she thinks it will continue in the future.