Red shirts and hundreds of pancakes are hallmarks of a community breakfast Handyman Home Hardware hosts annually.
The store is located in Conception Bay South, a small community in Newfoundland and Labrador. Handyman Home Hardware hosts the event as part of a local festival, and invites the community to eat breakfast together, listen to live accordion music and mingle.
The free meal is all about being neighborly. Store owner Christine Hand and her daughter, manager Michelle Thorup, flip pancakes alongside members of the local town council.
In a professional kitchen, a former store employee loads an industrial-size griddle with pancakes to keep up with demand.
Out in the arena where visitors are eating, volunteers such as Hand, Thorup and their families chat with guests, cook a few pancakes at a time on griddles and add chocolate chips or blueberries on top for fun.
Customers enjoy seeing the Handyman Home Hardware staff out in the commmunity and appreciate the meal and door prizes.
They are accustomed to spending money at the store, so having the business spend money on them makes them feel good, Thorup says.
Attendees wearing red to match the Home Hardware colors receive prizes, such as Home Hardware hats and sidewalk chalk.
The purpose for the event goes beyond promoting that Handyman Home Hardware is active in the community, Thorup says. In fact, sales drop at the store on the big day because 700 customers are eating breakfast, not shopping.
“There really is just the loveliest environment when people from all over the community gather together to share a meal,” she says. “It’s such a tight-knit feeling and part of what makes our community feel cozy and homey.”