Tom Boucher is the CEO and one of the owners of Great NH Restaurants, headquartered in Bedford. Boucher manages restaurants such as the Cactus Jack in Manchester and T-Bones in Bedford, as well as locations in Laconia, Salem and Hudson. In addition, Boucher opened The Copper Door in Bedford in December.
Boucher still has time for other commitments, and spends a great deal of time giving back to those in the community who give to the restaurants. Boucher took over as CEO in 2004 and has never looked back. Since then, he’s helped numerous people in the community with donations. For those reasons, he was nominated as The Cabinet Press Business Hero.
“We do a thing called Thanks for Giving,” Boucher said.
Last fall, Boucher helped raise $4,000 for the Bedford Fire Department. Running from mid-October through Thanksgiving, the restaurants’ patrons could give $5 and get a $5 gift card in return.
“Their budget doesn’t always allow for them to buy new equipment,” Boucher said of the fire department. “So we fundraised for it.”
Boucher also made donations to the Bedford Police Department. When The Copper Door opened, a box out front provided a place for people to put donations. The money went to the department’s RUOK Program, which was set in place as a “reverse 911 call,” Boucher said. Police call the town’s senior citizens who have signed up for the service to check on them.
Also, when Chief of Police David Bailey retired, Boucher offered to cater a luncheon for him.
“We appreciated his services so we offered ours,” Boucher said.
But the donations don’t stop there. Boucher has donated food from the restaurants on numerous occasions. An all-night fundraiser for Bedford High School students and a luncheon to honor Bedford town employees were catered by Boucher and his restaurants.
He’s also given various gift certificates and sponsors the Bedford Friends of Recreation, Bedford Little League, Bedford Bulldogs Hockey, Animal Rescue League, and the Bedford Men’s Club, just to name a few.
“If someone asks, and it’s going to help someone in the community, we never say no,” Boucher said.
“It’s who we are,” Boucher said. “For us, it just makes sense to give back to the community that gives to us.”
Boucher said the company is creating its own nonprofit organization for next year. The Great NH Restaurants FEED NH Foundation, will help people in a variety of ways.
FEED stands for Families, Elderly, Education and Deprived.
“It’s a long process, but we are preparing and we’re excited about that,” Boucher said. “We’ve been thinking about this for a while.”
Money raised will also go to help other nonprofit organizations, he said.
With his hands full, he also plans fundraisers at the restaurants in the Laconia and Salem locations, such as participating in the Turkey Plunge at Thanksgiving and a Prize Wheel for the Field of Dreams in Salem.
Next February, Boucher plans to continue with a fundraiser he’s always done. The Sweetheart of a Deal runs from mid- January to Valentine’s Day at the restaurants, where donations of $5 will get you a $5 gift certificate. The fundraiser helps the Caregivers of NH.
Boucher estimates he has raised more than $1 million from donating and fundraising, and hopes to continue his efforts in the future.
“I love what I do, every part of what I do,” he said. “It’s hard, but it’s very rewarding.”
By KAITLIN JOSEPH, Staff Writer, The Cabinet Press