Community Voices - Shirley Owens

Shirley OwensPhoto by Yvette Chen OC '16A lifelong Oberlin resident, Ms. Shirley Owens is General Manager of Quick and Delicious restaurant, located at 311 South Main Street. She believes in creating community through the continuous beautification of neighborhoods, and by making good-tasting food accessible to everyone. Ms. Owens is thankful that Quick and Delicious is equipped to serve people of all ages and abilities, giving customers the opportunity “to eat what you’d like to eat” in “a place where family and friends gather and hugs are free.”

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

A: Cultural. You just have to learn how to embrace what Oberlin has to offer. It’s a very nice community, and a lot of things that people don’t even know exist here have been here for a long time. You just have to know how to plan and make it happen when the events are available, and enjoy them.

Q: Can you share any examples of the types of cool events that take place here?

A: Well, a lot of things have to do with the college; they have a lot of really nice events that people can embrace and go to. There are plays that come about, and the museum. On Heritage Tours, you can learn more about some of the things that are available and get a chance to see some of the neighborhoods that have the history that brings Oberlin to life; the Underground Railroad and the development of our little community under those circumstances.

Q: Thanks! Can you talk a bit about your family’s history in Oberlin?

A: I was born and raised here, basically in the restaurant business. My dad, Fred Owens, owned Campus Restaurant for eighteen, nineteen years; we delivered to the college, we did all those things. Campus Restaurant opened in 1969 in the downtown corridor of the Oberlin Savings Bank, which is now First Merit. It was an old-style ‘50s diner with individual jukebox machines at each table. It’s obviously meant for...our family to have a restaurant business here in Oberlin, ‘cause here we are again going into our tenth year.

Q: Some people use the word “sustainability” to mean actions that enhance the social, economic, and environmental welfare of the community. What has sustainability meant to you in your life and work?

A: I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to buy two homes in this community. One that I built - so I added a home - and one that I have reconditioned. So it’s really about continuously building or beautifying the Oberlin situation. We refurbished this whole building...so that was another things we tried to do for our community. I think that continuously making sure that you are being a part of the reconditioning of Oberlin is something that is really nice.

Q: Do you engage in any sustainability actions in your business?

A: What we have done is we’ve saved cans and given them to area schools, like to help them buy a bus. We’ve also had the schools come to us and we’ve given them some of our styrofoam boxes for an experiment that they wanted to do. So we have been a part of decent things around the community, as best that we possibly can.

We do try to make sure that we’re decently environmental; we recycle our corrugated cardboard boxes and our oil. The oil is recycled under contract with Darling Oil, a comanay which removes used oil from restaurants and recycles 100% of it into usable products ( http://darlingii.com/UsedOilRemoval.aspx). That’s three or four different ways that restaurants can give back to the community or help out throughout the county, state; however these things become useful to anyone who ends up with them.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to tell your fellow community members regarding building sustainable relationships in the Oberlin community?

A: I’m just thankful not to see a block on certain areas of Oberlin. Oberlin is a community, and as a community that’s how you build: You can’t have barriers. We’re thankful for what we can bring to [the community], because we bring a lot of people from all over to this place. We’re very self-conscious about how we feed people, how we treat people, and that’s what a restaurant’s really all about. We’re just a nice “Mom and Pop” where you can eat anything you’d like all day long...in a home environment type of family setting. Everyone needs to bring their own flavor, we brought ours. It makes it all more personal here and we’re thankful for that.

 

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Emily Belle is a second year Environmental Studies major at Oberlin College. Originally from Ithaca, New York, she loves waterfalls, woodland adventures, and growing and eating tasty food. Emily works in the Oberlin community as a Bonner Leader and America Reads Tutor.

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Michelle May 31, 2016

I remember campus restaurant fondly the mr Fred burgers, the strange downstairs isaw only a few times the place made me happy

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Guest March 15, 2017

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Emily Belle
Emily Belle is a second year Environmental Studies major at Oberlin College. Ori
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