Written by Jessica Shelburne
In an upcoming segment on NBC’s Sunday Today, famous and beloved downtown Salem restaurant Mac and Bob’s will be featured regarding their 2018 legal and financial struggle. Kevin Tibbles, the NBC reporter who has covered numerous major national events, and a production crew came to Salem earlier this week to set up for a short day of filming.
RC community members (including President Maxey and his lovely wife, Terri) were able to give their input about the 2018 crisis and how they contributed to its resolution. Included in the mix was a group of four kids who had set up a lemonade stand in 2018 to raise money to “Save the Calzone,” as their sign proclaimed, as well as a Roanoke surgeon who created a GoFundMe account to bring awareness to the issue and ask for donations to alleviate the financial strain on the restaurant during this time. Also interviewed were Kelly Givens, the brain behind the “WE STAND WITH MAC AND BOB’S” signs placed all over town during the height of the crisis, and Joyce Waugh, president of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, who named Mac and Bob’s their “Small Business of the Year” in 2019.
The support from customers and the community was outpouring during the lawsuit over wages two years ago. In 2018, the community rose well over 100,000 dollars in support of the restaurant, and their business rose 9 percent that year alone.
Since then, Mac and Bob’s has continued to be successful as it approaches 40 years of business, and business is bound to be even busier with the upcoming nationally broadcast segment. Bob Rotanz, co-owner of Mac and Bob’s, is an RC alum (‘78). Rotanz recently spoke on campus as part of the new RC GameChangers speaker series.
“I’ve lived in a four block area for 40 years. I love this community and I’m honored to be here,” said Rotanz.
The next talk in the RC GameChangers will be delivered by Sam Rasoul (‘02), Virginia House of Delegates Representative for District 11, on March 19 at 7 p.m. in the Wortmann Ballroom. Presented by Leadership Roanoke and RC Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation (CLEI), all in the RC community and beyond are welcome to attend this event. Students who attend at least three of the GameChangers events will receive a complimentary t-shirt.
“Bob was the perfect speaker to kick off our series. He was a student leader at RC, in and out the classroom and on the athletic fields, and his success with Mac and Bob’s and contributions to the Roanoke Valley speak for themselves. I heard him speak when I was a senior, and that talk has stayed with me. He is an engaging truth-teller, honest and down-to-earth, and he continues to connect with each generation of RC students. To hear Bob’s personal tale about the restaurant’s recent bankruptcy and how he was able to turn that into an incredible success was a wonderful message of overcoming adversity for our student leaders,” said Joe Boucher, Director of the Campus Center and Student Activities at RC.