The reopening of a restaurant -- or any private business -- isn't usually a big deal except to its owners and employees. It's certainly not a community event, right?
Well, that would be the case most places, but not in the Walla Walla Valley.
This is a generous and caring community. Folks here reach out to those in need.
In December a fire at Mr. Ed's caused $175,000 and shut down the Isaacs Avenue restaurant. The community offered its support. Fundraisers took place to help the employees and their families have a merry Christmas and make ends meet until the restaurant was up and running.
Mr. Ed's was able to temporarily relocate at the Elks' Club on Rose Street, which allowed the customers to eat meals and employes to make a living until the reconstruction of the restaurant was complete.
So when Mr. Ed's reopened last week at its original location it wasn't business as usual -- it was a community celebration.
Nearly 300 people gathered to listen to music, sample new items on the menu and enjoy time together.
Some changes were made to the restaurant, one of which was to reinforce the walls specifically to hang photos. Mr. Ed's, which is now owned by Dan Givens and Craig Potter, plans to display photos of its regular customers. The goal of Givens and Potter is to fill the wall with photos of those they consider to be family.
"It sounds hokey, but it really is a family operation," Givens said. "We treat our customers like family."
Caring about people is never hokey. It's what makes the Walla Walla Valley more than just a place to live, it's a community.