At lunch time Thursday, the drive-thru lines for the newly opened Culver's in Elm Grove were so long, cars backed out onto Bluemound Road.
And inside the restaurant at dinner time, the place was packed.
Why? The community rallied behind Culver's and its generous offer to donate 100% of all sales all day Thursday (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) to the Azana Salon & Spa benefit fund for the children of the women killed in the spa shooting Oct. 21.
Customers tried to eat quickly to give up their tables for more customers. Families waited patiently a few extra minutes as a bolstered staff worked quickly to deliver all orders.
And while they waited, they could also buy raffle tickets organized by Red Oak Counseling of Elm Grove, who received a table full of goods and services donated by businesses. For $1 a ticket (6 tickets for $5, etc.), patrons could try their chances at raffle items that included golf sessions, tickets to a variety of Milwaukee-area attractions, a Harley Davidson basket of merchandise, Brewers club-level tickets and an autograph from pitcher John Axford and more.
Culver's owner Brian Shecterle said in an interview inside the hopping restaurant about 6 p.m. that he was gratified by the community outpouring of support for Azana, which is located just around the Bluemound-Moorland intersection corner from the Elm Grove Culver's.
While the Azana building is not visible from Culver's front windows, the restaurant's employees' hearts go out to their business neighbor. Employees from nearby Culver's locations, such as on 3705 N. 124th St., came to help the Elm Grove location which just opened about a month ago.
Fox 6 was there at dinnertime and filed this video report of the charitable event.
One woman said on Azana's Facebook page that seeing how busy the restaurant was inside and out brought tears to her eyes. Another said people should remember to go back and patronize the Elm Grove Culver's as a thank-you for donating its proceeds.
Businesses who donated to Red Oak's raffle for the Azana benefit fund are: Kids in Motion, Milwaukee Public Museum, Moko Esthetician LLC, Westmoor Country Club, Cigno Family Dental, Comedy Sportz, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Brewers, Edgewood Golf Course, Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee Admirals, Harley Davidson, Krautland Restaurant, Firehouse Restaurant, Dr. Hough, Prairieville Park, Bluemound Bowl and Milwaukee Boat Line.
Original story at 10 a.m. Thursday:
Eat at Culver's in Elm Grove today and help the children of the women who lost their lives in the Oct. 21 mass shooting at Azana Salon & Spa.
The Culver's at 15280 W. Bluemound Rd., which just opened about a month ago, will donate 100% of all sales today to the Azana benefit fund set up for the children of Zina Haughton, Cary Robuck and Maelyn Lind, who died in the tragedy. Only gift cards will not count, because they are handled nationally.
Culver's will donate the entire proceeds of all sales from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The spa is located around the busy Moorland-Bluemound road corner from the new Culver's.
"These are our neighbors," Culver's co-owner Alicia Braatz told Patch Thursday. "We want to do what we can to help them out."
Braatz said area Culver's restaurants, overseen by Brian Shecterle, have a history of concentrating their charity on local organizations and efforts and thus, the spa benefit fit that mission.
Shecterle visited the spa to let them know the Elm Grove Culver's planned to donate to the Azana fund at Associated Bank and spa employees, who thanked the restaurant, shared the Culver's fundraiser on the spa's Facebook page.
"Supporting our Brookfield/Elm Grove community has always been a priority." Shecterle said. "I’m pleased that we can find a way to support our neighbors at this difficult time. We are hoping for a large turnout to support our friends and neighbors at Azana."
Culver's also will be accepting donations to forward to the spa's benefit fund at Associated Bank, 1 North Moorland Rd., Brookfield, WI 53005. Donations can be dropped off at any Associated Bank.