A sign in front of the Willowbrook White Spot proudly boasts the staff’s goal to raise big coin to send sick and disabled children to camp.
The goal for the Langley restaurant this year is to sell 2,250 Pirate Paks during the annual Pirate Pak Day on Wednesday, Aug. 10.
For every adult Pirate Pak sold that day, White Spot donates $2 to Zajac Ranch for Children, and Langley has always been the top seller, boasted general manager and part owner Shelley Lemmen.
“The community of Langley supports us – they’re phenomenal. The town of Langley is just incredible, no doubt about it.”
This is the eighth year in a row for the Pirate Pak fundraising day, all in aid of Zajac Ranch for Children, an established charity that provides a once-in-a-lifetime summer camp experience to kids and young adults with life-threatening illnesses and chronic disabilities.
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White Spot has helped raise more than $450,000 and send more than 300 young campers to Zajac since Pirate Pak Day began.
Lemmen said the team has been preparing for this day for months.
All the cardboard boats, for instance, were set up and on display in the restaurant on July 1. Every spare moment available in the past few weeks has been spent scooping ice cream, folding napkins, or counting stock such as ketchup and straws.
“I’d like to think we have one of the best communities going, because they just come out and really support us and the kids,” Lemmen said, also crediting her 100-member staff and the team of community volunteers (former employees, family, friends, and even customers) who come through on the day to make it all possible.
“It’s really humbling to see how much they give,” she added, noting that some of the staff and volunteers start as early at 5:30 a.m. with her, and almost all of them are still there at 1 a.m. the next morning – once everything has been cleaned up and they begin the official count of boats sold and dollars raised.
“We’ve really built up a community around us… It’s truly amazing,” Lemmen said.
She confesses that she’s not too sure how many more Pirate Paks can be sold at this Langley outlet – between the dining room, the car lot, and take-out orders.
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They typically don’t serve 2,000 people in four days of operation. Last year, during Pirate Pak Day, they broke their previous boat record and sold out – served up 2,234 boats.
This time, Lemmen said they’re only shooting just “slightly” higher – not too sure how many more people they could accommodate in the one-day blitz, but everyone is charged and excited to give it their all for the cause.
“I’d like to think we can get a little bit better,” she said, admitting they become more efficient year after year.
In fact, when it comes to brainstorming on how to do better and raise more to the kids, much of that comes from the team when they sit down in the early morning hours – just after clean up and count – to debrief and suggest how to improve for the following year.
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“They’re just incredible,” Lemmen said, challenging other White Spot operators to even try to beat her team’s spirit and subsequently their success.
Last year, the Langley store almost doubled its nearest runner up which sold about 1,200 boats.
White Spot Week at Zajac Ranch runs from Aug. 15 to 19 and includes activities ranging from kayaking and climbing to swimming and horseback riding.
“Pirate Pak Day is a big event for us, one that both our staff and guests look forward to every year,” says White Spot president Warren Erhart.
“Money raised on this special day helps young mateys facing difficult challenges, and wouldn’t be possible without the participation of our valued guests. We’ll be dressed up in our best swashbuckling outfits, so come join the merriment!”
Bye-bye Ben Moss
A Winnipeg-based jewelry store, with an outlet in Willowbrook Mall, is all done – except for the going-out-of-business sale.
Sales began Saturday at all 54 Ben Moss Jewellers outlets in Western Canada, with discounts of up to 40 per cent on all merchandise, including the entire stock of what they call mid- to high-priced jewelry, and diamond collections.
Pizza helps kids
This year, Langley Pizza Hut staff and customers rallied together to raise $2,000 to help kids living with diabetes.
In fact, the 46 Hut restaurants around B.C. earned the 2016 Steppin’ Up corporate award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for raising almost $60,000 in total during the annual Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.
In B.C., one of the biggest walks used to be held at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove, but has since been moved to Abbotsford. The other closest walk is in Vancouver.
This year’s walk is over, but there’s lots of time to sign up for next year. Or, if you want to help, but can’t do the walk, think of contributing at one of the two local Pizza Huts.
This sounds like a potential recipe for disaster, but here’s hoping its just the opposite.
A Langley firearms outlet and a brewery are joining forces this Saturday – just a few hundred feet from my desk – to host a summer event.
I wouldn’t normally mention such a sale – even given the odd partnership. But this event has a more broad-reaching interest.
PoCo Military and its neighbours at Trading Post Brewery are hosting an event that will feature the Canadian Military Education Centre. Upwards of a dozen military vehicles will be set up in the parking lot, and the Vancouver Rifles and CMEC will a variety of collectible firearms on display.
This all happens Saturday at 20120 64th Ave., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Roxanne Hooper would love to hear from you. Email her details of what’s happening in your business, if you’re opening a new shop, relocating, making a significant change… let her know at firstname.lastname@example.org.