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community sv 020317

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C o m m u nit y SCOTTS VALLEY city of R osanna Her- rera's roots in Scotts Valley run long and deep. As the owner of Bruno's BBQ, they have to. Her restaurant and business is the site of seemingly countless community events for years. "Once I found out the impact that a small business can have in a community, it really fell into my heart," she said. But it wasn't always like that. Herrera, a former executive at the tech company Seagate, originally lived in San Jose and commuted to Scotts Valley for the job. She moved to the city for the same reason many others have: To avoid a long commute over Highway 17. Long known as a bedroom community, Scotts Val- ley has attracted many families in search of greener pastures away from the hubbub of life in a faster city. For Herrera, the move was more a pragmatic choice. It wasn't until 2005, when she took a hiatus from the tech world, that the groundwork was laid for her community in- volvement. During the hiatus, she worked as a business consultant and was eventually hired by an investor to evaluate Bruno's. The inves- tor had a stake in the restaurant but didn't want to put in the work. The work eventually turned into an offer for Herrera to buy a stake in the business. "He didn't want to continue to do that any- more so he made me an offer I couldn't refuse," she said. Initially, she looked at the restaurant as an investment with certain steps: Buy 50 percent of the restaurant, build the business for a year and then sell it. But the challenge of shap- ing the restaurant into a successful business drew her. "I'm the official greeter, director of throwing out the garbage and chief dish washer," she said, laughing at how hum- ble the business has kept her. So when Herrera ar- rived, she jumped into the thick of fundraisers and nonprofit organiza- tions. And the commu- nity welcomed her with open arms. "They've provided me with a great home here and a good living," she said. "I appreciate that and feel it's my responsibility to give back... So when I can, I do." Bruno's, a staple in Scotts Valley since 1997, had already cemented its reputation and place in the community at that point. Working alongside Diane Mon- getta, one of the res- taurant's founders and original owners, Her- rera built the restaurant back up. Eventually, Herrera opted to buy out Mongetta's share and run the restaurant full-time. Those who have worked with her say she never says no when it comes to helping the community. The Scotts Valley Educational Founda- tion hosts a number of events there, most recently an event titled "Daughter & Me." Requiring a lot of space for the event, organiz- ers approached Her- rera about using the upstairs portion of the res- tau- rant for the event. Sensing that the event needed a lot of space, Herrera vol- unteered to shut down the entire restaurant for the event. "I've never had her say, 'No, I can't help you,'" said Derek Timm, president of foundation. "She [helps] with her food, her space and her time." A similar sentiment was echoed by Louie Walters, athletic direc- tor at Scotts Valley High School. Since Herrera took over, Wal- ters has regularly asked her to help with events for the high school's parent booster club. Poker fundraisers, team dinners and anything else the club needs, Herrera is there. "She's always jumped in and said, 'Hey, we'd love to help you.' She's done a lot of things where it's like, 'Hey, she's not making no money. She's just doing it to help us.'" Beyond the restau- rant, Herrera has fin- gers in other communi- ty pots. She is president of the Scotts Valley Rotary Club, which provides humanitarian relief at an internation- al level and scholarships locally. She ran for a seat on the city council in the fall but did not garner enough votes. But she's still involved with politics as she was recently appointed to the planning commis- sion. But that's part of the city's culture. "Once you're here, all you have to do is raise your hand once and then everybody is willing to accept you. Everybody is willing to accept you and is willing to help you," she said. By Calvin Men Rosanna Herrera has owned Bruno's BBQ for 11 years. photos shmuel thaler – santa Cruz sentinel Rosanna Herrera gets the bar area at Bruno's BBQ ready for the lunch rush. She's always jumped in and said,'Hey, we'd love to help you.' – Louie Walters A Pillar in the Community...And Great Barbecue Too!

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