The COVID-19 pandemic brought confusion, stress and anxiety to our world earlier this year, and those elements are persisting today. In Oregon, construction was deemed an essential business, and as such, Perlo has been able to continue operations with some modifications to ensure health and safety. We are grateful that we have been able to maintain the employment of nearly 400 people, as well as hundreds of subcontracted employees working on our jobsites, and have done so safely.
When it was clear that construction activity would resume, we assembled a task force to look at ways that we can best support our employees and our communities. While Perlo was fortunate to continue operating, many other businesses were either shut down, or severely restricted, and we wanted to find a way to help them. Out of this effort, our #rebuildtogether campaign was born.
What is the #rebuildtogether campaign?
#rebuildtogether is a support and giving campaign that is designed to help the communities we live and work in during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that a collective effort to sustain and rebuild businesses hardest hit by the measures put in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19 will help everyone in our economy to recover and eventually thrive. Our hope is that by providing care to our own employees and non-profit partners, as well as bringing revenue to other local businesses, we will inspire others to pitch in, help where each of us can and come out of this pandemic stronger on the other side.
The campaign has so far included efforts to provide food to both our internal employees, as well as members of the community that have no prior connection to Perlo at all. After all, there is joy in sharing a meal.
Our internal company efforts have included, among other things, purchasing and distributing fresh produce boxes from Caruso Produce to all field and office employees at least once per month. In June, we also donated more than 15 of those produce boxes to Parrott Creek Child & Family Services, True Housing, and Sunshine Pantry in Tigard.
The Big Idea
Externally, we sought to develop an even bigger idea, which culminated in partnering with ten locally owned restaurants to provide 50 free meals to their customers. In addition to funding the meals (up to $25 per order), Perlo provides a $250 tip to the restaurant staff, and the efforts to design and produce associated marketing materials. In this way, we hope to do our part to make sure that Perlo isn’t alone when this pandemic ends. We want all of the surrounding businesses to survive, too.
Our Restaurant Partners
Our commitment includes partnering with ten restaurants at a rate of one per week. There are an overwhelming number of restaurants in and around the Portland Metro area that can use support during this time. Our choices for partnerships were made based in part on restaurants we have used in the past for events and company lunches, spreading the effort across our region to reach communities where our employees live, and most importantly, finding restaurants that are locally owned and operated.
Our partners to date have included:
Located on 12th street in downtown Portland, Cheryl’s on 12th was founded by Cheryl & Ed Casey. At the time of our partnership, they reported that more than 60% of their pre-COVID business was for corporate and special event catering – most of which ceased when businesses shut down. Perlo utilized their services for delivering lunches to many of our jobsites to show our appreciation for our field crews. We are grateful for their participation in launching the first of our free meals program.
Stark Street Pizza specializes in New York style crispy crust pizza and has been serving pizza in southeast Portland since 1965. Their service was modified for curbside pick-up when the COVID restrictions occurred. Stark Street Pizza was great about taking some fun photos of their staff and customers and gave away their 50 free meals within 6 hours of opening.
With unique beers and pub style eats, Breakside Brewery in Slabtown was a partnership borne from the suggestion of one of our long-time clients, Capstone Partners. A tenant in one of their buildings, Breakside Brewery serves up good food and craft beer. Started in 2010, Breakside now has two other locations in Portland and Milwaukie, and in 2019 became one of only a handful of employee-owned breweries across the entire country.
This staple of Hillsboro serves up some of the best burgers in town! Located on the busy corner of Farmington and River roads, the Cruise In Country Diner is locally owned and operated, and serves natural and organic meats, homemade shakes and fries, and purchases their products from local suppliers as much as possible. The #rebuildtogether effort served up 105 burgers, including to our own Elissa Looney, Senior Manager, whose family lives near the diner.
El Sol de Mexico – Tigard
El Sol de Mexico holds a soft spot in Perlo hearts, as it’s located just across from our previous office location on 72nd Avenue in Tigard and was a popular lunch destination within walking distance for our employees. Serving up classic Mexican dishes, their fajitas, enchiladas and burritos can’t be beat! Open for lunch and dinner, El Sol will also package their delicious salsa in take home containers for families to enjoy. A few of our Perlo families dined here during the campaign giveaway, including Project Manager Adam Smelley and his family. They reported that the cheese enchilada and beef taco combo were delicious!
The restaurant located furthest from our headquarters, Fat Moose Bar & Grill is a staple of Woodland, Washington. Many of our employees live in or around the Woodland area, and one of our owners, Jeff Perala, grew up with the owner of Fat Moose Bar & Grill. With classic burgers, sandwiches and wraps, Fat Moose is a great place for meals and has a parking lot large enough to accommodate boat parking for those coming off a day of fun on the nearby lakes.
With three locations, including their flagship location in Tualatin, Ancestry Brewing creates all of its product at its Tualatin location. Family owned, Ancestry crafts their own brews, with IPA’s in American, Irish, English and Belgian styles as well as seasonal and barrel aged beer. Their food menu includes delicious starters, salads, burgers and sandwiches. Perlo Office Coordinator Kelsey Kirkpatrick toured their facility with Ancestry’s Jeremy and Suzanne.
Perhaps our most inspiring restaurant, Po’ Shines café not only provides good food to its neighborhood, it also fulfills a larger mission to supply food to hungry citizens and job skills training to inner-city youth. With more than 10,000 meals donated to the community so far, Po’ Shines has stepped up in even bigger ways during the COVD-19 pandemic. Their efforts have included feeding seniors for free during the week, and nearly 500 meals each weekend to Portland’s homeless population.
General Manager John Tolbert reports that though some of their regular catering gigs have slowed, their regular customers have continued to show up for take-out during the shutdown, and they are grateful for that support. They have also increased their business with Multnomah county, supplying many of the meals for county run homeless shelters and food pantries.
Po’ Shines doesn’t yet know when they will be able to reopen their culinary school for in-person classes but are researching options for virtual classes in the interim. When they can resume, they plan to re-open the culinary school program, and will be incorporating classes for 14 – 22 year old youth who are in need of job training.
Perlo’s Director of Business Development, Todd Duwe, says “their fried cat fish and hush puppies are one of my Blazer game go-to’s”. We may not know when we’ll be able to attend a Blazer game next, but if you’re in the mood for a little southern soul food, swing by their brick and mortar store for some takeout soon!
Owned by the dynamic husband and wife duo, Matt and Janae Petrous serve up delicious pizzas in Beavercreek, Oregon! Staunch supporters or their community, when Perlo approached them about partnering for the #rebuildtogether campaign, they immediately looked for ways they could pass on the ‘giving’ in turn. Their generous spirit is exactly the kind of thing we want to support. In the mood for pizza? This free food deal will be available on July 30th, so make sure to grab a pizza at Jimmy O’s on that day!
Perlo partnered with a brand new Gladstone take-out restaurant known as Pearl’s Place. A rebirth of the well-known caterer, Two Girls Catering, Pearl’s Place is owner Pam McClung’s restaurant reinvention that was borne out of the closure of her catering business due to COVID-19. Pam had to shift her entire business strategy and has done so in a very short amount of time. A true ‘rebuild’, we are glad to support Pam’s new endeavor, and hope you’ll check them out very soon!
Where do we go from here?
Though our efforts with the weekly restaurant campaign is nearing an end, our commitment to helping rebuild our communities is not.
In addition to continuing to support our employees and non-profit partners, we are also committed to helping our customers retrofit their physical spaces in preparation of employees returning to the office, or to provide upgrades to increase their health and safety measures as we all respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Special Projects Group has completed research into a variety of physical building changes that may help to prevent the spread of illness in commercial spaces. Our teams are prepared to engage to make any changes a building may need to help safely bring team members back to work. For more information, check out the information outlined here. If cost is an issue, please let us know. We care about our community, and will do our part to help make spaces safe for your employees.
Our #rebuildtogether campaign continues to evolve, and we aren’t done with our work, yet. Watch this space for further announcements about ways Perlo is giving back to our community.
A Call to Action
Undoubtedly, the way forward will take all of us working together. If you’ve been inspired by our efforts or have received free food through our #rebuildtogether campaign and are in a position to do so, we encourage you to find small ways to pay it forward to others around you.
If we all pitch in, we will come out of this stronger on the other side and with our community businesses intact.