Mac and Bob's gives employees scholarships with extra money raised for legal fees

Owners said legal troubles are now over

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

SALEM, Va. - A Salem landmark is turning the page on a chapter in its history that almost shut it down, while also giving back.

As we've reported, Mac and Bob’s had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last fall after learning a policy requiring servers to tip out dishwashers instead of hosts was actually illegal.

After months of uncertainty, Mac and Bob’s is finally out of the woods with more support than ever before. Community members raised more than $150,000 through a GoFundMe account and other fundraisers to cover legal costs.

"The good was so much better than the bad. The tears of concern with my wife and family became tears of joy. There was so much more of that than there was the negative," Mac and Bob’s co-owner and president Bob Rotanz said.

After all the legal costs, about $8,000 was left in the GoFundMe account, so the owners decided to give that to those who helped them through it all.

"One of the recipients is a single mom and she works full time, and she goes to school online and she could really use a nice new laptop," Rotanz said.

The extra funding is going to scholarships for three full-time employees pursuing higher education. In addition to the online student using the money for a laptop, another employee will use it for a year of community college and the third will use it for a semester at a four-year school.

"He’s an important part of the community. He's helped more people than I can count on my fingers and toes at this restaurant," Mac and Bob’s assistant manager Heather Welch said.

The kind gesture is hardly a surprise for longtime employees.

"I knew he would help. He's always one for us to benefit and move ourselves forward. The money that's leftover, he would put back into the community one way or another," Welch said.

"It makes you feel like we did the right thing all these 40 years of supporting our community and then we had our backs against the wall, boy did they come back big time and help us out," Rotanz said.

Rotanz said all the litigation against the restaurant is now wrapped up and taking care of this GoFundMe account is the last thing on the list before closing this chapter.

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