Scott White (far left) celebrates his Merchant of the Year Award with father Glenn and son Corey on Jan. 23. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Scott White (far left) celebrates his Merchant of the Year Award with father Glenn and son Corey on Jan. 23. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

First Scott White honored his dad.

Then it was Scott himself getting an even bigger honor.

During the Keizer First Citizen and Awards Banquet on Jan. 23, there were 14 Pairings of Excellence recipients, with Scott, owner of Keizer Big Town Hero, honoring father Glenn White as “Big Town Hero Extraordinaire” for his help at the restaurant.

Then it was time for the announcement of the 2015 Merchant of the Year. Joe Egli, last year’s recipient of the clock award, handled the introduction.

“We get to add one person to the list that is more than qualified,” Egli said. “Everybody knows this person. Not because they advertise a lot, not because they spend a lot of money on things, it’s because they’re always out there doing things in our community. They’re always saying yes. Actually, they don’t ever actually say yes. If you ever have a conversation with this person, they won’t say yes and they won’t say no. They say ‘sure’ or ‘absolutely’ we can do this, no matter how dumb or stupid the idea. They make it happen. They take care of it.

“They are enthusiastic about what they do.” he added. “The product they sell is a byproduct of their attitude. It’s a welcoming atmosphere every time you go in there. You always hear your name. This person is family. Working in a family businesses, you realize how important family is. I’d like to call up Scott White.”

Scott hugged Egli and joked about the long introduction.

“Five years ago my kids and I thought it would be a lot of fun to open a sandwich shop in this town,” Scott said. “We found out five years later it was a lot of work and just a little bit of fun. But if it wasn’t for everyone in this room and this community, we wouldn’t be able to give back as we have to the community and the schools. Thank you very much everybody.”

Scott went on to thank his family members, who were sitting at his table. Daughter Kalynn is the Big Town Hero manager, while son Corey works there as well. His father, mother and mother-in-law help out as well. Scott also thanked his wife of 25 years, Shannon.

“It’s just really special,” Scott said afterwards. “We work hard in the community, in a family-run business. We give a lot back to the community, but it’s cool to get back a lot from the community. We started it together, have done a lot of hard work together, a lot of tears and sweat. It’s grown tremendously over the last five years. It’s been a huge success. My dad is a big support. My mother-in-law serves tables on our two busiest days, Tuesdays and Thursdays. So many customers come in and recognize it’s a family-run business.”

Early on, Scott came up with an Outstanding Card, which teachers can give to students doing good work at school to earn a free sandwich.

“It feels good all the way around,” Scott said of the card. “The teacher feels good to give it to the kid, the kid feels good to be able to bring it in and the parents usually bring the kid in. It’s just a good all-around outreach for what we do.”

Kalynn White is finishing up culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland and hopes to use what she’s already learned – and is currently learning – to expand her K’s Catering business.

“I’ve learned so much from my dad,” Kalynn said. “Everything I’ve learned and all of the hard work has been through him. My hope is one day to open my own kitchen and expand K’s Catering. That is my life goal, along with Big Town Hero. Big Town Hero is my second family.”

Kalynn said the whole family was excited for dad’s award.

“It’s nice to know all of our hard work is paying off,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without the community support.”