CDC names Hope & Olive Entrepreneur of the Year


Staff Writer

Published: 05-03-2019 7:02 AM

GREENFIELD — Hope & Olive restaurant’s owners have been named Entrepreneur(s) of the Year.

The Franklin County Community Development Corporation received nominations this year for the three owners of the 12-year-old restaurant, which took root in the former Polish-American Citizens Club building on the corner of Hope and Olive streets in 2007.

After a 2005 fire claimed A Bottle of Bread, the restaurant they owned in Shelburne Falls, Maggie Zaccara, her brother Jim Zaccara and their business partner Evelyn Wulfkuhle looked to open elsewhere. 

“Our mission at Bottle was to give back to the community,” Jim Zaccara said. “We brought that with us to Hope & Olive, building it into what we do.”

The CDC has been giving the award to an entrepreneur or entrepreneurs each year since its inception in 2011. The Haas Entrepreneur Award is presented to an owner or owners whose business has at least three full-time jobs, including their own, has been in operation for five or more years and has made a commitment to improve their community through social responsibility, environmental sustainability, financial contributions and volunteer time.

Amy Shapiro, business development director for the CDC, said Janet Hass, Ann Hamilton, former Franklin County Chamber of Commerce head, Andrea Nathanson, the CDC board chairwoman, Kim and Aaron Stevens and Chip and Sherry Hager, along with Shapiro and Diana Szynal, current head of the chamber, are on the selection committee. The community nominates businesses that fit the criteria in February and March.

“Hope & Olive was selected because it is an amazing example of giving back to the community, being a great employer and an all-around good business that has become an asset to the region,” Shapiro said. “(The owners) provide a wide range of benefits to their employees, support many local farms, are known for Soup and Game Night, which supports many nonprofits and social causes, are leaders in the community meal in August and (Hope & Olive) has become an anchor business that is dependable, providing quality service and products.”   

Maggie Zaccara said Hope & Olive is all about social responsibility and making their community better. The owners said they have agreed to almost every request they’ve had for fundraisers. She also said they love to host community events, like the monthly Soup and Game Night, where a different local charity is the beneficiary. She said the restaurant has also hosted political fundraisers and after-election celebrations.

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“We’ve done things for every Relay for Life team that has asked,” her brother said.

“It’s kind of open-ended with us,” she said. “People know that they can come here.”

The two said after the fire in Shelburne Falls, they became the recipients of a series of fundraisers for their staff and to help them reopen. 

“There was so much support for us,” he said. “So, we have to do this for others.”

His sister said they are “so fortunate” to live in an area where everyone is supportive.

“We just have to pay it forward,” Maggie Zaccara said. “It was so easy for us to jump into the role of volunteer.”

The Zaccaras said they are very dedicated to making their business as environmentally sustainable as possible.

“We always try to source what we can locally,” she said. “Most of what we use is from here or New England. We try to keep trucking and shipping to a minimum. We compost food and cardboard and try to keep waste down. We use paper straws and do our own linens. We don’t throw out much.”

The Zaccaras said Hope & Olive has also been a longtime member of Communities Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.

“It’s very nice to be recognized for the hard work and dedication we and our staff have to our community,” Jim Zaccara said. “We’re committed to volunteering, and many other businesses help us with Soup and Game Night each month. Rick Roy helps us by driving around and picking up the contributions those other businesses make each month.”

Maggie Zaccara said even though the price of running a restaurant has skyrocketed in recent years, they plan to keep Hope & Olive going and don’t plan to slow down with their charity work.

The Zaccaras, who also own Magpie Woodfired Pizzeria around the corner on Bank Row, said between the two restaurants, they employ 35 full- and part-time people. 

“The restaurant business, in general, is not a big moneymaker,” she said. “We put our profits back into the business and the building. We pay our staff a fair pay and offer full-time employees insurance. We feed our staff well and offer discounts on chiropractic services and YMCA memberships.”

“Our priority is our staff and our customers,” her brother said.

The Zaccaras — Wulfkuhle was not able to attend the interview — said Hope & Olive will continue to make things fresh and inviting, the food enticing and they’ll always have surprises for diners.

The Haas Entrepreneur of the Year award is named after Dick Haas, founder of Sugarhill Containers. The first award in 2011 went to Alden Booth and Lissa Greenough, owners of People’s Pint. Recipients after that were: Molly and Van Wood of Small Corp. in 2012; Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom of Zoar Outdoor in 2013; Craig White and Bob Lindner of Hillside Pizza in 2014; Nan Parati of Elmer’s Store in 2015; Lisa Alber of Alber Hearing Services in 2016; and in 2017, it was the worker-owned cooperative of PV Squared Solar.

On Thursday, May 9, Franklin County Community Development Corp. and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate Hope & Olive’s owners and others beginning 5 p.m. at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center,  289 Main St., Greenfield. Awards will be given at 6 p.m.

The event is open to the public, and a $10 donation is suggested. There will be light local fare and music. To RSVP, call 413-774-7204.