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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Ray’

Common Man Restaurants Celebrate 40th Year With Donations

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The Common Man family of restaurants in New Hampshire marked its 40th year with a $40,000 birthday gift to the New Hampshire Food Bank and the unveiling of a DO GOOD charity raffle to assist 20 other non-profits in the state.

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch joins Common Man CEO Jason Lyon, Vice President Diane Downing and owner Alex Ray in presenting a $40,000 birthday gift to the New Hampshire Food Bank's Director of Development Colleen Cowette.

At a party held at the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester last Thursday, Common Man owner Alex Ray, Vice President Diane Downing and CEO Jason Lyon gathered staff, partners and non-profits to announce a month-long celebration of the hospitality family’s 40th year, which includes throwback menus, parties and charitable endeavors.

Lyon kicked off the party with the donation to the New Hampshire Food Bank. “While this was a gift to mark our 40th birthday, we do encourage and even challenge all businesses across New Hampshire to give what they can as well, so that no resident goes hungry,” said Lyon.

Bruce Wilson, Director of Operations for the New Hampshire Food Bank, said the donation solidifies a partnership with the Common Man family that has spanned several years, and thanked the Common Man for helping serve more than 130,000 people. “This will go a long way in filling our shelves so that we can help those in need in our state,” said Wilson.

Governor John Lynch commended Ray and the Common Man family for their contributions to the state and to others. “To me, the Common Man represents all that is good about organizations in New Hampshire,” said Lynch. “It’s obvious they have a real commitment to their communities. Everywhere I go, there’s the Common Man, there’s Alex, giving back to the community.”

Ray reflected on 40 years of doing business in New Hampshire and commented that he often gets calls about locations outside of the state that would be perfect for a new restaurant or hospitality endeavor.

“I love it here, I love New Hampshire. Period,” said Ray. “It’s not just the beauty of our geography, it’s the people, it’s the work ethic, positivity, and it’s just great. I want us to be New Hampshire’s restaurant.”

Ray thanked the more than 800 employees of the Common Man family and credited them for the company’s success. “I am so proud of our Common Man family, we have a very good tenure and that’s what makes it magic.”

Steve Boucher, Communications and Legislative Director for the NH Division of Economic Development, said The Common Man is a world-class company that provides excellent food and is a leader in vision and spirit. “It’s companies like The Common Man that consistently create new opportunities to add to the workforce, to initiate redevelopment and to add to the social fabric that makes this state great.”

Common Man VP Downing announced a charity DO GOOD raffle that partners 21 of New Hampshire’s non-profits with 21 Common Man locations. Raffle tickets will be sold for $1 each with all proceeds benefiting the partner organization, and the lucky raffle winner will receive a Common Man gift card for $197.10, to mark the company’s inception in 1971.

Lyon said the charities in the DO GOOD raffle contest can also earn an additional $400 Common Man gift card through a voting contest on the Common Man’s Facebook page. The non-profit with the highest votes at the end of the month will win. Votes can be cast in the voting app at www.facebook.com/thecommonmannh.

Other festivities and promotions planned for the 40th anniversary include a Happy Birthday Video Contest, where contestants can sing their own version of Happy Birthday, capture it on video and load it to an app on the Common Man’s Facebook page. The videos will go to a public vote and finalist videos will be shown in a Birthday Idol contest at the culmination of the month-long celebration at The Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center in Plymouth on December 2. The grand prize for the video contest is a $400 Common Man gift card, said Lyon.

Getting back to its roots, the Common Man restaurant in Ashland, the company’s flagship location, will be serving up a throwback menu at throwback prices from November 7-12. Information about all of the Common Man’s 40th anniversary events and specials can be found at thecman.com or on the company’s Facebook page at facebook.com/thecommonmannh.

Winners Celebrated at 8th Business Excellence Awards

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

It was a real pleasure for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development to be a sponsor of last night’s New Hampshire Business Review “Business Excellence Awards” at Southern New Hampshire University. This was a great celebration of New Hampshire’s  best and brightest companies and the good folks at NHBR were rewarded for their hard work with a packed room.

Special congrats are in order for “No Bull Business Blog” guest blogger Dr. Russ Ouellette of Sojourn Partners who was recognized with an award in the “Business Services” category. Way to go Russ!!

Here’s a recap of last night’s festivities:

New Hampshire Business Review honored 14 individuals at the 2010 Business Excellence Awards, which recognize the efforts and achievements owners of businesses with 100 employees or fewer.

More than 50 nominations in 13 categories were received, making the job of the 14 judges that much more difficult.

More than 300 people attended the Oct. 20 event, which was held at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

Because of the extraordinary number of accomplished candidates, NHBR also named a tie in the Retail category and finalists in several other categories.

NHBR also announced two inductees into the Business Excellence Hall of Fame, which singles out people whose entire careers have been marked by a consistent and impressive record of accomplishments, both in their chosen fields, in their communities, and across the state and beyond. These honorees were selected by a separate panel of judges.

“Each of the businesspeople who receive these honors has a different story to tell,” said Sharron McCarthy, president of McLean Communications and publisher of NHBR. “But what they have in common is determination, industriousness and the ability to come up with innovative solutions that have allowed their businesses to survive and thrive, regardless of economic conditions, and a commitment to serving their communities.”

NHBR Editor Jeff Feingold

NHBR Editor Jeff Feingold

Jeff Feingold, editor of NHBR, said, “We would like to salute all of the nominees, the people who nominated them and the winners themselves for their contributions toward making New Hampshire a great place to do business.”

Emcee was Charlie Sherman, host of WGIR-AM’s morning news talk program.

A portion of the proceeds from the evening benefited Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, which advocates for New Hampshire children in the state’s court system in cases of neglect and abuse.

The winners of the 2010 NHBR Business Excellences Awards were:

"Business Services" winner Dr. Russ Ouellette

"Business Services" winner Dr. Russ Ouellette

• Excellence in Business Services — Russ Ouellette, Sojourn Partners LLC, Bedford
• Excellence in Construction — G. Hayden McLaughlin, Belknap Landscape Co., Inc., Gilford
• Excellence in Financial Services — Frank Teas, The Nashua Bank
• Excellence in Health Care — Joshua Siegal, M.D., Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics, Exeter
• Excellence in Hospitality — Carol Sheehan, The Red Arrow 24 Hr. Franchising Inc., Manchester
• Excellence in Media & Marketing — Linda Fanaras, Millennium Integrated Marketing Inc., Manchester
• Excellence in Nonprofits — Peter Kelleher, Partnership for Successful Living, Nashua
• Excellence in Professional Services — Jonathan Halle, Warrenstreet Architects, Concord
• Excellence in Real Estate — Quentin Keefe, Regency Mortgage Corp., Manchester
• Excellence in Retail (tie) — Susan Lozier Robert, Frederick’s Pastries, Amherst; Curt Jacques, West Lebanon Feed & Supply
• Excellence in Technology — Jason Alexander, Alexander Technology Group, Bedford

The 2010 NHBR Business Excellence Hall of Fame Inductees were:

• Alex Ray, founder, Common Man Family of Restaurants
• Lew Feldstein, former chairman, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

The judges for the 2010 NHBR Business Excellence Awards were:

• Jennifer Boulanger, loan officer at Capital Region Economic Development Corp. in Concord and former executive director of the Belknap County Economic Development Council based in Laconia
• Robin Comstock, president and CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
• Roy Duddy, interim director, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development
• Lou Guevin, former chairman, Junior Achievement of New Hampshire
• Julie Gustafson, president and CEO, Amoskeag Business Incubator, Manchester
• Richard Hanson, professor, accounting and taxation, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester; executive director, Institute for Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination, SNHU
• Mahboubul Hassan, professor, economics and finance, SNHU
• Lise Howson, vice president and business banking relationship manager, Citizens Bank
• Witmer Jones, New Hampshire district director, U.S. Small Business Administration
• Dave Juvet, senior vice president, Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire
• Patrick F. McDermott, economic and community development manager, Public Service Company of New Hampshire
• Tim Sink, president, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce
• Ashley Smith, business editor, The Nashua Telegraph
• Chip Underhill, senior marketing manager, FairPoint Communications, Manchester

Sponsors of the event were FairPoint Communications, Laconia Savings Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, Public Service of New Hampshire, J Maze Design, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, Merrimack Street Volvo, WGIR-AM 610, New Hampshire Public Television and Southern New Hampshire University. — NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

Common Man Donates Over $45,000 to Local Charities

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the State of New Hampshire can give thanks to great companies that embody the spirit of corporate citizenship. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak at a press conference celebrating The Common Man Family of Restaurants charitable efforts. Owner Alex Ray, who was recently honored with the Cornerstone Humanitarian Award by the National Restaurant Association, has been a great friend and partner to the economic development community and we salute him and his team for their commitment to the Granite State. Here’s the press release that emanated from yesterday’s event:

The Common Man family of restaurants in New Hampshire celebrated receiving a national humanitarian award by joining with local business partners in donating more than $45,000 to five Granite State charities.

Common Man Owner Alex Ray and Judy Gove of the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op join New Hampshire Governor John Lynch in presenting a donation of $15,345 to New Hampshire Food Bank Executive Director Melanie Gosselin.

Common Man Owner Alex Ray and Judy Gove of the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op join New Hampshire Governor John Lynch in presenting a donation of $15,345 to New Hampshire Food Bank Executive Director Melanie Gosselin.

Common Man Owner Alex Ray, CEO Jason Lyon and Vice President Diane Downing announced the largest donation of the award event to the New Hampshire Food Bank of Manchester, which received $15,345 from the Common Man family, raised at an annual golf tournament and through sales in nine restaurants of bottles of water filtered with the Common Man’s new sustainable AquaHealth filtration system.   That donation was matched in full with a presentation by Judy Gove of the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op Foundation, bringing the total gifted to the food bank to $30,690.

Lyon also noted that AquaHealth President Barclay Hansen partnered with the Common Man in its charitable efforts earlier in the month, donating $100 per Common Man location using the sustainable water filtration system to the New Hampshire Food Bank, for a total of $900.

“We will make our goals for the holiday after today’s donations, so for that, I thank you,” said Melanie Gosselin, executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank. “There are only a few events that leave you speechless, and today was one of them.”

Common Man owner Alex Ray was named the Cornerstone Humanitarian of the Year by the National Restaurant Association in a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C., and said he wanted to continue the spirit of the award here at home by helping non-profits that make a difference in the state.

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch congratulated Ray and the Common Man family with a proclamation, citing the good works the restaurant’s staff and employees do in local communities.

“Alex understands he has a responsibility to the community, and I don’t know anyone in New Hampshire who takes that more seriously than Alex,” said Governor Lynch.

Also receiving a significant donation was Webster Place Center of Franklin, a non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center founded by Ray after he saved the historic property from demolition and made extensive renovations to open it as a treatment facility.

Ray presented a check to Webster Place Center Executive Director John Knowles for $5,000 from the National Restaurant Association, as Ray’s work building the center was the focus of the Cornerstone Humanitarian Award, and a matching donation of $5,000 from The Common Man family for a total gift of $10,000.

Downing welcomed representatives of the American Cancer Society in New Hampshire and its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign to accept a $4,514 donation from a summer promotion that included the sale of “Strides Salads” at all Common Man-named restaurants. The salad was created by Common Man Concord Chef Shane Milianes and a portion of proceeds of each salad sold was designated for Making Strides.

Rounding out the organizations receiving donations were the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter (NSKS), which received $500 to help continue its efforts to fight hunger and homelessness in the greater Nashua area. The donation was a result of a gift card ad done by the Common Man family, which pledged $2 of every card redeemed at The Common Man restaurant in Merrimack to NSKS.

The Easter Seals of New Hampshire Veterans Count fund also received a $100 donation, the final tally from a Veteran’s Day “American as Apple Pie” promotion done by some of the Common Man’s locations in southern New Hampshire, which pledged $1 per slice of apple pie sold to benefit the fund in memory of U.S. Marines Cpl. Michael Ouellette, a Manchester native who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in March.

NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher lauds the Common Man's charitable efforts.

NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher lauds the Common Man's charitable efforts.

During the donation event, Steve Boucher, Communications and Legislative Director for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, named The Common Man family the department’s “First Class Business” for December, recognizing its 38 year history of community involvement and calling it a role model for other businesses to emulate.

Lyon closed the event noting that the restaurant family’s support of the New Hampshire Food Bank during this time of increased demand continues with the sale of a holiday coupon book sold at all Common Man family locations during the holiday season. Each $10 coupon book is full of offers – from a free entrée to discounted overnight rates at the Common Man Inns, and the entire purchase price goes to the New Hampshire Food Bank, said Lyon.

“If there was ever a time to feel hopeful, thankful and grateful, it’s the holidays,” said Lyon. “We hope this helps you kick off the season in a wonderful way, and inspires residents, businesses and organizations across the state to follow the mantra The Common Man family lives by, ‘Do well by doing good’,” said Lyon. “Stop and think, have you done good today? Your efforts really do make a difference.”

Congrats to a New Hampshire Icon

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Congratulations are in store to a New Hampshire icon and close friend to the state’s business community.

Alex Ray, owner of the Common Man Family of Restaurants has been named the winner of the National Restaurant Association’s 2009 Cornerstone Humanitarian Award.

Alex Ray and this team of volunteers assisted victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Alex Ray and this team of volunteers assisted victims of Hurricane Katrina.

A few years back, I remember sitting at the Common Man with Alex, his tremendous PR person Erica Murphy and then Business Resource Center Director (and now Interim Division of Economic Development Director) Roy Duddy to discuss partnership opportunities. Alex had just returned from New Orleans where he was part of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Armed with a Common Man van full of cooking supplies, clothes and food, Alex directed kitchen operations at the Baton Rouge River Center, feeding more than 2,500 victims and later assisting with pet rescue efforts.

Closer to home, Alex and his team have assisted local organizations ranging from The Salvation Army in Manchester to  The Humane Society for Greater Nashua, The Friendly Kitchen in Concord and many others.

Thanks Alex for all that you do and for always putting people first as you grow your many businesses. We are very fortunate to have excellent business professionals like you in our great state!

Here’s a link to the story that appeared in the New Hampshire Business Review’s online edition this morning: http://www.nhbr.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090918/NEWS06/909179982.

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director