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Local businesses support GRAZERS with fundraiser after owner’s sudden passing

Adrianna Quinlan
Cupcakes sit on display at Rocco’s Cupcakes as the business takes part in fundraising to support GRAZERS on March 2, 2024.

Throughout downtown Kent on Saturday, businesses put together raffle baskets and were donating percentages of their sales to support GRAZERS in light of the passing of co-owner Carl Bauer. 

Michela Rocco, owner of Rocco’s Cupcakes, organized the fundraiser in order to help support the family and their business. 

“Kent is an extremely close-knit community, and it’s just important to show support for each other because we’re one heartbeat. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true,” Rocco said. “We do our best to support each other in any way, shape or form.”

Businesses that participated in the fundraising could either do a raffle and donate 5% of proceeds for the day, or they could donate a higher percentage. 

Rocco was able to get multiple businesses downtown to participate in the fundraising and said that donations were going toward a good cause.

One of the businesses participating was Sun in Leo, where owner Justine Gallo raffled off items from her store to offer support. 

“We wanted something to get people engaged and allow them to know what is going on, knowing to go eat at GRAZERS, to support them,” Gallo said. “At the end of the day, community is what helps everything and helps you heal.” 

Alicia Hall, owner of Flourish Plant Mkt., said other local businesses reached out, wanting to donate raffle items in order to offer their support. 

“It’s a really lovely thing when you can rally together and know that your friends, your peers and your community are behind you and supporting you,” Hall said. “Having such a tragic thing happen and then having to run a business on top of that, I can’t even imagine what they are going through.”

At Flourish Plant Mkt., a raffle basket supporting GRAZERS sits on display for customers to into it on March 2, 2024. (Adrianna Quinlan)

Hall said people are going to remember Bauer’s love toward the community and his mission to offer people healthy food. 

Bent Tree Coffee was another business fundraising, and store manager Jonah Onuska was hard at work serving customers while also promoting the raffle and fundraiser. 

“All the local businesses would do it for any other local business, you hear about something terrible and it’s natural to want to help,” Onuska said. “We respect their vision of having great, healthy food for everybody, and I think that will continue on with support from all of us going there, enjoying their food, remembering Carl’s cooking and the great lessons that he provided about how to take care of your body and your health.” 

The fundraising continued at night with Zephyr Pub hosting a benefit concert and The Kent Stage donating proceeds from their Beatles show featuring tribute band Hard Day’s Night. 

Rocco said she looked up to Bauer for his sense of community and thinks it was incredible the way he brought a healthy food option to Kent that allows customers with allergies and dietary restrictions to eat great food.

“He had such a positive outlook on life and a positive attitude, and that’s how we can all hope to be,” Rocco said. “We want to carry on that positivity and sense of community.”

Adrianna Quinlan is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Adrianna Quinlan, Reporter
Adrianna is a sophomore journalism major and a general assignment reporter. This is her first semester with Kent Wired. She is excited to write stories that are interesting and important to students. Adrianna is also a Morale Captain for KSU Flashathon and works with first-year students as a Peer Success Mentor.
Contact her at [email protected]
Erin Sullivan, Photographer
Erin is a senior journalism major who works for KentWired. She started her career as a reporter and anchor for TV2 News and a safety reporter for KentWired. Erin now serves as a TV2 reporter and photographer for KentWired. She most enjoys reporting stories that directly impact the residents of Portage County. Contact her at [email protected].

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