Veterans, active-duty can have coffee or pastry for free July 1-4 at Orange Cat
By Joshua Maloni
If you’re an active-duty, former or retired military member, your Orange Cat order is on the Erways this weekend.
For a second year, the Lewiston couple is treating our troops to coffee, iced drinks and pastries at the popular Center Street location.
“I've always been passionate about our military,” Joel Erway said Wednesday. “We have a lot of family members that are active and former military, retired military. And so, they've always held a special place in my heart.”
Joel and his wife, Maryjo, run The Webinar Agency, a digital marketing and podcast studio headquartered at the Red Brick Municipal Building. She is from Lewiston, while he grew up in Elmira and went to school in Rochester. They met there, married, and moved to Lewiston when their two children were younger.
“I fell in love with this place. I really, really love this place, and so I’ve wanted to be part of the community. I’ve wanted to give back to the community, and just kind of say ‘Thanks,’ ” Erway said. “I wanted to find a cause. And it was mid-June last year. I was talking to my wife, Maryjo. … I come to the Orange Cat almost every day. And so, I said, ‘What do you think about, for the Fourth of July this year, let's invite anyone who's active or former military to come and enjoy what we enjoy?’ ”
Erway reached out to Michael Broderick.
“We were more than happy to do it,” the Orange Cat owner said.
Broderick called the partnership a no-brainer. He said his father and uncles served in the military, and he’s always had a soft spot for Vietnam veterans, “because it was a different world.”
Moreover, “Since we’ve opened, we’ve always comped all drinks for police officers, our local sheriffs, state troopers, Lewiston police. Doing this is kind of a natural extension,” Broderick said.
Erway said the first go-around “went really well. I think we served about 200 orders last year to active or former military; and so, we want to do it again this year, and hopefully we'll keep growing.”
In fact, Broderick said, “We’d love to double that amount this year.”
He explained, “Joel and his family have been super-generous with organizing it.”
“A lot of veterans that came in last year thanked us, but didn’t want anything comped. But they still showed their appreciation for it,” Broderick said. “This year, with the bicentennial falling on the same weekend, we’re assuming there’s going to be a lot more people in town. We’re hoping for an excellent turnout, as just a way to say ‘thanks.’ ”
Erway said, “The plan is to keep doing it every year. And possibly do it with other shops on Center Street. I mean, I bring my clients here. They fly from all over the world. When I say I love Lewiston, I really do. I love to show it off. I mean, it's just such a unique little town, little village. And so, I want to contribute to our community. Give back to our military, and just contribute to the area in as many ways as I can.”
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly said, “Joel and his family are always thinking about ways to support the community. During COVID, they helped us create community T-shirts, where proceeds were donated to the give-or-take table, first-responders and local emergency response organizations. This offer, for those who serve and served, this coming weekend, is an act of kindness that will go a long way.”