I’ll have an order of good business sense with a side of passion please

Steve Torpey
Owner of Stanley's Tavern

Small businesses, like my own, often align themselves with nonprofits whose mission satisfies key objectives; they match business goals, employee interests and fulfill a deep-held conviction of the company’s owner.

Born and raised in Wilmington, I’ve been in the hospitality business since 1974. I love being part of the community. Early on in my ownership of Stanley’s I realized we are a cornerstone of the community - this is where people come to gather. It’s also where they come when they need help with something like a fundraiser.

The simple response for such requests is to donate gift cards or host a Stanley's Gives Back event. Don’t get me wrong, we do that, it’s a small way to demonstrate support. But, I always felt I wanted something more, something that would engrain my business further into the community.

Giving makes you feel good. So, if you and your business have the stamina to support a nonprofit or charitable event you could be making an excellent business decision.

By demonstrating my commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, it’s allowed me, my employees and my business clientele to take pride in supporting a worthwhile cause. Let me be clear, I don’t get and keep customers because of my charitable support, but our customers take notice; they ask questions, they may even become involved in supporting the Clubs or another charity. At the very least, its strengthening the attachment to our community – and that can’t be all bad!

Nonprofit events are fun outings. When your business name is on the event, it takes on a whole new meaning. In the early years of the Stanley’s Tavern Classic, it required a great deal of commitment to establish the event; I was right there to ensure the integrity of the event complimented the integrity of my business philosophy – that we are a community based business. My ownership of Stanley’s goes back 34 years. We are not a big corporate chain that takes your money and deposits it in another state. That was important when considering a charity to support. I want to see the local impact; I like knowing the $1.2 million we’ve raised is staying in Wilmington and I get to see the impact when I walk into a Boys & Girls Club.

I was involved with the Classic about 8 years when I was invited to be a judge for the Boys & Girls Clubs premiere youth event. I reluctantly said yes, I was working 60+ hours a week on my own business, and now they were asking me to put more work into another event. Well, it was just the kind of ‘work’ I needed. My fellow judges were other business men and women from around the state. Together we shared in a memorable experience as teens shared their stories of triumph over unfortunate childhood circumstances. This opportunity made me realize, ‘these young people have truly benefited from their Club’; this realization had nothing to do with good business and everything to do with passion.

In the end, for a small business like mine to thrive, it requires strong, vibrant communities to support them. One simply can’t exist without the other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Torpey has been in the hospitality business for over 40 years, and running Stanley’s Tavern for over 30. A committed community man, Steve sits on several charity committees and boards, most notably the Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic, which raises funds for Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware visit bgclubs.org . Steve can be reached at 302-475-1887.

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