"The Hop Jack’s in Keizer Station has set its opening date for March 26.
Hops Jack’s serves a wide variety of pub fare with a an emphasis on cold beer and icy drinks, but the corporation behind the food has a much bigger vision, said Kevin Eggen, a Hop Jack’s manager and son of the company founder.
“We sell burgers and fries and ice cold beer and icy drinks, but we call ourselves a development company,” Eggen told the Keizer City Council Feb. 20. Eggen was in town to talk about the restaurant as the council prepared to recommend approval of a liquor license to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Eggen also offered details on the five fingers of Hop Jack’s “helping hand” business practices.
For every drink and kids meal the restaurant sells, 50 cents is donated to a Good Neighbor Fund or a Kids Feeding Kids program, respectively. The Good Neighbor Program offers assistance to employees and community members who are struggling financially. Eggen said the fund amassed $80,000 last year that helped individuals cover expenses ranging from rent to funeral costs. The Kids Feeding Kids program donates to local charities and groups providing meals for students.
“I always tell customers that they can come in and have a beer and they don’t have to tell their spouse or significant other that they were out drinking. They can tell them they were donating to charity,” Eggen said.
The restaurant also offers takeover nights in partnership with groups looking for a fundraising opportunity. For a three-hour period, Hops Jack’s will donate 20 percent of its net sales to the cause.
Hops Jack’s also partners with Pepsi and the makers of its Bloody Mary mix, Demitri’s, to offer scholarships for employees looking to advance within the company or elsewhere in the restaurant industry.
“A lot of people in our industry don’t go to college, they come up through the restaurants and we try to help them attend college or culinary school. If an employee wants to be a server – and be a great server – we can do that for them, but we also want to help people grow if they want to do that,” Eggen said.
The last “finger” on the helping hand is volunteerism. Eggen said the business encourages employees to go into schools and read to students, participate in the Relay for Life or simply walk dogs at the Humane Society among other labors.
Washington-based Hop Jack’s was founded in 2009 and has already expanded to 17 locations. The Keizer location will be its second in Oregon.
“As you grow, you can lose sight of that community and we want to focus on the communities that we are in,” Eggen said.
Hop Jack’s hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday; 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday."
What started as a conversation between the founder of a popular Washington restaurant chain and his mother will help buy lunches for Richland students.
Mark Eggen, the man behind Hop Jack’s, and his mother were talking about the stigma attached to students receiving free and reduced lunch when she was in school.
“At the time there was a special line you had to go in and even specific items you were allowed to choose from,” said Jaime Fox, the restaurant’s director of training, safety and charities. “Mark began to think about this and decided that our restaurant company could make an impact.”
Hop Jack’s decided to donate 50 cents of every children’s meal it sold to help hungry kids, similar to its program that donates 25 cents of every beer to community charities.
“We did not want to donate to large, nationwide organizations where we would never know where the money went and where there is often a lot of overhead costs,” Fox said.
Richland School District is one of 13 beneficiaries statewide, receiving $4,300 since joining the program in January. It will use the money to help students who wouldn’t otherwise get lunch, whether they are just short on funds in their lunch accounts, or their families are struggling but don’t qualify for the federal free lunch program.
Auburn Public Schools Foundation provides $10,000 for school programs in spring
"Six Auburn schools and thousands of students are benefiting this month from funding provided by the Auburn Public Schools Foundation.
The foundation funded three Turn the Page literacy grants totaling nearly $6,500. The grants are for upcoming projects at Lea Hill Elementary, Terminal Park Elementary, and West Auburn High School. These projects include upgrading the reading and writing curriculum materials available to the students there.
The language arts faculty at Auburn Mountainview High School received a $500 grant to enhance its Shakespeare unit for the incoming freshman class. The Seattle Shakespeare Company will visit the school next spring to conduct workshops as the classes study Romeo and Juliet.
Washington Elementary School was the recipient of more than $2,600 to purchase and install alternative seating options for its second-graders. These “wobble chairs” and other seating options have been shown to increase student focus by keeping them more physically engaged throughout the day.
The foundation also provided funding to several schools recently through the Pantry Project. Funded primarily through contributions from Hop Jack’s restaurant, the Pantry Project stocks participating schools with an on-hand supply of basic food, snack and hygiene materials for students in need.
Local residents can support the Pantry Project and at an upcoming fundraiser night at Hop Jack’s in Lakeland Hills from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8. Ten percent of all food and beverage sales during the fundraiser will go toward funding the Pantry Project..."