May 17, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Five years ago, I first learned of the pending sale of Jake's Truck Stop. On the Second of September, it became public knowledge and created a sort of media firestorm.
When I decided to go ahead and take the diner over, the media picked up on that also. The night of the closing of the truck stop, a photographer from Bend Living showed up to take pictures of a up and coming article.
A documentary was produced and shown at McMennamins last year of the fall of the truck stop and my struggle to keep the diner alive. It was shown only once and sold out in five minutes but was shelved because their was no written contract with the former owners to show the film. The film brought much interest from a variety of media.
The biggest media interest came when I moved the diner to it's new location. It seemed that week, like I was being interviewed at least once a day. I remember fielding calls as I drove from one building to the other. I think every media available had something to say about it with the biggest piece coming from Bend Living which was titled "A Phoenix rising from the ashes". The electronic age of blogs was at it's beginnings and various people wrote of how I would be gone in less than six months as I was moving into the worst location in town.
As I began to set up various events, it seemed that the media was always around in one form or another. KTVZ has ran many pieces including doing their weather from the parking lot last July during our Fourth of July Vietnam Veteran's BBQ. They were there also last fall when I was robbed which drew the interest of the Dept of Justice which in turn brought the media back.
KTVZ cameras showed up last Thanksgiving to document the Seniors Thanksgiving meal. I remember KOHD showing up minutes later. When I told them that KTVZ had already been there, the camera man told me that he needed to talk to his producer. He never came back leading me to believe that KTVZ had out scooped him.
I have even had media call me on various occasions to ask me what special things that I was doing at the time thus fishing for stories. Everywhere I turned, it seemed the media was there often times in force.
Last week, the pinnacle of my efforts was achieved. Jake's Diner won the distinguished small business of the year. What greater award can one receive than one given to them from their peers.
I still remain humbled by what all happened but this is so big in my eyes that I want to cry it out from the rooftops. And yet, that same voice that brought us to the attention of the community for the various things that we do went very soft. Two radio stations had it in their broadcast, KBND and KSJJ (a big shout out to my Buddy, RL Garrigus) and the Bulletin had it hidden in the middle of a piece at the bottom of the local page the next morning. Many friends and my own parents did not know of the award until I told them. I have had quite a few who knew of the dinner and watched the news on TV looking for the results.
So, for now, I have placed the plaque on the wall next to the cashiers station. I stepped back and looked at it with a smile. There is still a lot of work to be done but for now, I have fulfilled a promise that I made nearly five years ago. I promised the Wolfe family that I would not let down the good name of Jake's and I would not make them regret giving me the name. To me, this award validates that promise.
I am very grateful to the businesses and business people in the community that voted for us and to the community that supported us and continues to support us through these trying times. And even more grateful to the media who brought our struggle and then our events to the eyes and ears of that same community.
Thank you all so much!