A Sit-down with Steve Torpey, Owner of Stanley’s Tavern
Wilmington native and owner of Stanley’s Tavern, Steve Torpey, isn’t just another restaurateur. Steve, and Stanley’s Tavern, are deeply rooted in the tradition of serving their community – a practice that has led to improving the lives of thousands of children around greater Wilmington.
Born and raised in Wilmington, Torpey has been in the hospitality business since 1974. He’s been in the giving back to his community business for just as long. Because of his profound dedication and connection to his community, Torpey has been supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware for 27 years as the title sponsor for the Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic.
The Classic, as Torpey lovingly refers to the event, has raised over $1.6 million dollars for Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, and if Steve has any say in it, they’ll get to $2 million – and soon! Originally introduced to the organization through a mutual friend, Steve immediately gravitated to the mission and work that the Club’s offer to Delaware youth. “I was looking for something community based, Stanley’s is a neighborhood pub, and I wanted to be affiliated with something that the people that I know (opens arms to suggest his patrons and community at Stanley’s) would get involved with. I believe that giving back is the right thing to do. I was invested from the start”, Torpey says. “But what really hooked me, was when I was asked to be a judge for the Youth of the Year, man that was one of the most incredible and humbling experiences of my life. It made my commitment to the Clubs a long term commitment.”
Hilary LaMotte Burke, Director of Marketing & Communications, for Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware got to spend a few minutes with Torpey, to learn more about the man, the business and the Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic. It went a little something like this…
What makes the Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic different from other charity fundraisers?
The Classic is unique with its “6’em setup”, which originally started as featuring celebrities. In the beginning, golfers would purchase a 6’em to play with a celebrity. What happened was, the event was so great, that our loyal golfers didn’t want to give up a spot on their 6’em, even for a celebrity. Instead, they really saw the value in bringing on new guests or entertaining clients. There is time at every hole to laugh it up, conduct business, and just have fun.
The Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic just fits into one of my motto’s, ‘you’ve got to be better, be different or both from the rest’ – and The Classic is both! Our goal has always been to be better.
Who does the Stanley’s Golf Classic appeal to?
The tournament has evolved by the connections of everybody on the committee. We are diverse in industry and because everyone has different connections the makeup of the event is equally diverse. It’s always been my feeling that in charity fundraising, people get involved for one of two reasons; they are personally connected to the charity or the cause, or, a friend brings you in. It isn’t work getting people to commit and support this event.
The Classic is all about raising money for the Clubs, but we are not going for the short term here; we are looking for the long term connection with our golfers and our sponsors. We give our sponsors great exposure. They are getting the recognition they deserve. We want them [golfers and sponsors] to come back year after year, and they do! We have also started to appeal to the younger players as well, so we can begin building the next generation of participants who get the same passion for the Clubs that the current committee, golfers, sponsors and I feel.
What keeps you coming back to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware year after year?
Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware is so well staffed. I have been affiliated with other charities that had no infrastructure, which made it really difficult to sit on an event committee and produce a successful event. That is just not the case with the Boys & Girls Clubs. We as the committee, as entrepreneurs, we can come in and use our collective brain power and our connections and do what we are best at. We don’t have to worry about the organization and the operational side of things – it’s getting done and done well!
Our committee is key to the success of this event. The organization knows this and I know this. That is why we have our meetings at Stanley’s. I am in the hospitality business and our name is on the event, so it made sense that the meetings should take place at the restaurant. The committee is working so hard, the least I can do is feed them a good dinner. It’s a good way to make sure they show up meeting after meeting. If you feed them, they will come (said with a wink and a smile). Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t why this dedicated group shows up month after month, but it is a nice way for me to give back to them for their service.
And lastly, Jim Logullo is the heart of this event. He is such a business man. He’s retired and yet here he is – completely running this event. He loves to have fun, he loves to play golf – he’s as much this event as Stanley’s is.
Anything else you want people to know about the Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic?
I will close with this, and I probably say this phrase too often, I want to be guilty by association and I want to be guilty with this group! (Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic Committee, Golfers, Sponsors and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware).
2019 Stanley’s Tavern Golf Classic
Monday, May 20th
Wilmington Country Club