Paul Matson: Speaking of giving, how about this million-dollar donation? | TheUnion.com

Paul Matson: Speaking of giving, how about this million-dollar donation?

Other Voices
Paul Matson

Nevada County is loaded with organizations and programs that work to make our community a great and better place to live and work.

Generosity and volunteerism are abundant here, complete with a wide array of nonprofits dependent on "getting help from their friends" to accomplish their multitudes of missions. Our community comes through for them, time after time, and year after year.

There is also, as you may know, a way to support your favorite school or nonprofit organization on someone else's nickel, not yours.

It's called eScrip.

We’ve got a lot going for ourselves here in Nevada County in the generosity department.

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Up until the 1960s neighborhood grocery stores were pretty common everywhere in Nevada City. The buildings now occupied by Lefty's Grill, New Moon Café, Bonanza Market, Fur Trader, J.J. Jackson's, Gray Goose/Abstrak, Outside Inn, and Piety Hill Inn to name a few, all sold groceries at one time.

In the late 1950s Lawrence Painter of Painter's Market, with his Meat Department owner, Joe Dilley, teamed up with Bert See of Broad Street's Western Auto hardware store. They built a Super Market at 735 Zion Street. It offered just about everything from groceries, meat, spirits, clothing, sporting goods, garden and automotive supplies, hardware, to toys and furniture. It was a complete one-stop shopping center. (I had the privilege of working there for a time during that period).

The new store's name, SPD, reflected the last names of the founders, See, Painter and Dilley.

Moving "way out-of-town" was a huge gamble, which worked and worked well. At the time both Nevada City and Nevada County were tiny places, by population. The building, which was built for them, was later doubled in size to 24,000 square feet. As time went on and more shopping centers were built in our county, the store in 1984 greatly expanded the grocery side of its business, while retaining a sampling of hardware and sporting goods.

In 1980, a second location was established in Grass Valley's Pine Creek Shopping Center, and the store name became SPD Markets.

Ultimately Lawrence and Carol Painter's sons, Dean, Doug, Dennis and David took over the management operations with the help of other key, long-term employees. The markets now employ 150 people and have been in family ownership for three generations.

Today, these two locations offer a unique opportunity to support your favorite local school or non-profit organization. For a time SPD Markets ran its own scrip-donation program, based on each customer's purchases, but found it too labor-intensive to manage in-house. eScrip was enlisted to handle the project going forward.

It's pretty simple to participate. You can sign up at any check stand, look at the list of qualified local school and nonprofit organizations, and take your pick of up to four organizations. You will receive an eScrip Community Card for your wallet or purse and one for your key chain. On checking out you simply present one of these cards or offer you phone number. Three percent of your purchase will then be donated to the group or groups that you have chosen, by the store, not by you, but in your name. Some groups like Sammie's Friends and our local schools have got it totally ramped up and dialed in, and are reaping big benefits.

It's the only donation that I make that does not come out of my own pocket. To date SPD has donated roughly $1,000,000 to our local groups in the six years that the program has been in effect there.

We've got a lot going for ourselves here in Nevada County in the generosity department. That includes the Salvation Army bell ringers, Night of Giving, Donation Day, the eScrip program and the many, worthy, ongoing fundraising efforts happening all year long within our community. It's one big part of what makes this place so great.

Paul Matson lives in Nevada City.