The Loop Restaurants, Five West Kitchen + Bar and Bar 508: A World of Good


We live in a day and age where it is easy to get discouraged, helpless and hopeless.

The 24/7/365 a year news and social media cycle have transformed our lives in good ways – but in bad ways, too.

There is, without question, bad things that happen in our world.  Every day.

But, not that long ago there seemed to be some balance between the bad things and the good things that we saw around us or lived in our own lives.

One of the benefits of being the Executive Director of Spare Key is that every single day I get to see the balance in the world around me.

I see it in the checks – large and small – that we receive from people, foundations, companies and associations – that help us provide housing grants to families with critically ill and seriously injured children in the hospital.

I see it in the faces of my Staff and Board who understand that they are often all that stands in the way of a family’s sense of despair and their belief in hope for a better day.

Spare Key, like the many fantastic non-profits that support families in need, is blessed with the support of thousands throughout the years.

Organizations like the Minnesota Mortgage Association and their members that have supported our organization since its founding in 1997 by Robb and Patsy Keech.

Funders like the Otto Bremer Foundation, the Edina Realty Foundation, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the Pajor Foundation and so many others, have supported our mission and allowed us to focus on how we better leverage resources to do what we can to serve more families.

And, amazing companies like Bell State Bank and Trust, Bell Mortgage, KleinBank, Wells Fargo, Black Knight Financial Services, TitleSmart and so many others that there’s not enough memory in my computer to hold them all.

Others like our good friends at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Impressions Incorporated, Anchor Paper and others make it possible for us to do our work – but also offer us friendship and support in more ways than they can imagine.

There’s also people like Derek Link, Todd Jensen, Josh Paulsen and Ryan Brevig who I had the privilege to meet this week out on the golf course.

The four of them, all grew up in Rochester, Minnesota – attended Rochester’s John Marshall High School  – and, under the name or Rocket Restaurant Group have opened some of the state’s most popular eating and drinking establishments:  The Loop Restaurants, Five West Kitchen + Bar and Bar 508.

Their website says, “Rocket Restaurant Group began in 2006. It was the vision of four 20-somethings who all grew up together in Rochester, MN.”

And, somewhere in that span of time they have also held a golf tournament for the past 9 years to raise funds to help families in crisis.

This year Spare Key was honored and privileged to be the charity that The Loop Restaurants, Five West Kitchen + Bar and Bar 508’s owners, staff, vendors and customers came together to support at Brookview Golf Course in Golden Valley.

Golf is golf.  I can take it or leave it.

But, on a sunny and hot July day in Minnesota I found myself not caring about how little I enjoy golf but in just how much I respect and appreciate people like Ryan, Derek, Josh and Todd – and the people that work for them and work with them.

There’s no obligation to help a charity.  No law that requires you to be good to another person.  No constitutional requirement that you care about strangers.

I have often said that Minnesota has as many non-profits and charities as it has lakes.

This week I was reminded that Minnesota has even more companies and people like I met on the golf course than all of the lakes, oceans, seas, rivers and streams in the world.

Companies and people that are of their community – giving back to the community – without any expectation of anything in return.

Ryan, Derek, Josh and Todd have a business to operate.  Payroll to meet.  Employees to manage.  Bills to pay. Customers to make happy.

Nobody could fault them if they said they were too busy and too over-extended to have to be asked to do more than what others may do to serve the community.

There’s no front page news headline or lead on the 10:00 t.v. news trumpeting their commitment to their community or the contributions of their staff, customers and vendors to help other people.

People they will likely never meet or ever know but who will benefit from their kind hearts and good deeds.

Bad things will always happen in our world.  It is the bad things that far too often occupy our minds and fill our beings with dread, anxiety and uncertainty.

Good things happen in our world.  I think they happen far, far more often than bad things.

It would be a great thing if all the good things led our radio and television newscasts, were blared out on the headlines of our newspapers and populated every social media post around the world.

Because that won’t happen soon it is important that we all just look at the world around us and celebrate and embrace the big and small actions of goodness and kindness that does exist in the world.

On a Monday in July in Minnesota on a golf course I did just that.

And, it did me a world of good.

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