By Maddy Vitale
Two very successful businesses in Sea Isle City are the Ocean Drive Bar & Restaurant and O’Donnell’s Pour House.
But their model for success isn’t just based on how much business they take in from tourists and residents who frequent their popular establishments.
The owners and staff believe that what makes a good business is also determined by how much you give back to the community.
That is why the co-owned businesses host four fundraisers a year, two small and two large events, explained Kathy Larkin, manager of the Ocean Drive, 3915 Landis Ave., and O’Donnell’s Pour House, 3907 Landis Ave.
“That is what it is all about – giving back to the community,” Larkin said Sunday afternoon. “We just want to give back as much as we can. We want to help people.”
Last year, the businesses raised about $10,000 that went to local charities and organizations, including the Mike Monichetti Polar Bear Run/Walk for Autism, the Sea Isle City Ambulance Corps, Sea Isle City Beach Patrol for the purchase of a handicap-accessible beach chair, Cape May County Volunteers in Medicine, Bishop McHugh Regional Catholic School, the Police Unity Tour and the Sea Isle City Fire Department.
The businesses also donate funds to charities that went to help five people who have ties to the community struggling with various medical issues, including debilitating partial blindness, treatment for a blood disorder, colon cancer, liver cancer and a rare cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma, according to a letter about the fundraising efforts supplied by Larkin.
One of the fundraisers is “Christmas in July” at the Ocean Drive. The manager decorates a tree and sales of Santa hats go into a “pot” of funds for charities. There is also a fundraising trip in July to see the Philadelphia Phillies, Larkin explained.
“Broads at the Beach,” held at O’Donnell’s Pour House on July 30, is their second-largest fundraiser and includes drinks, food and raffles, she noted. Over the years, the proceeds from this event continue to grow.
A Baggo Tournament is the largest fundraiser and includes prizes, drinks and food. It will be held at the Ocean Drive at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6. It is in its 15th year and is always a huge success, Larkin said.
“People come out and we have a good time. The kitchen makes up food and the owners donate the spirits,” she said. “It is really a fun day. People love it.”
Between the two properties, there are more than 100 employees. Larkin said the fundraising events give patrons an enjoyable night, raising money for worthy causes. They also allow employees some down time to have some of their own fun during the busy summer season.
“It is nice for the staff. They have a lot of camaraderie. It gives them some time to relax and have some fun together and raise money for a good cause,” she said.
The Baggo Tournament started off very small inside the Ocean Drive, Larkin recalled.
“It is amazing how big it has grown,” she noted.
Over the years, the employees at the Ocean Drive and O’Donnell’s Pour House have raised funds to help people with their medical bills. In one instance, an employee, whose mom had ALS, was able to purchase a breathing machine with some of the proceeds raised by the fundraisers, Larkin said.
But without the help of the community, Larkin said the fundraising efforts wouldn’t be nearly as successful.
Local businesses donate to the events, such as the “Broads at the Beach” fundraiser.
“People can win amazing gift baskets,” she said. “About 50 people came out for the event. It gets bigger and bigger every year.”
For more information or to send a donation, contact Kathy Larkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 263-5600.