Many good stories came out of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce annual meeting Nov. 4, but one of them came as a surprise — perhaps as much to the speaker as the audience.
That’s when Dan Snider of Hayward “stole the microphone” and shared his thoughts about how the community came together for what was by all accounts the busiest business summer in the county’s history.
“Let’s face it,” he said. This summer we had our butts kicked — only he didn’t say “butts.”
Snider, the bar manager at Angler’s Bar & Grill, told the surprised crowd of more than 200 people at Flat Creek Lodge stories of what he saw over the summer, including how businesses normally in competition would send customers to each other.
And how every business shared in the impact.
In an interview Thursday, he described how the speech came to be.
“I was sitting in the back of the room, and nobody hit on the most important topic, which was how busy the area has been,” he said.
“Even though you’re in a competitive business, we still work together — it’s small-town economics.”
He said he noted when people go to the Steakhouse and it’s busy, servers will suggest Angler’s. And when someone finds out the bar doesn’t serve breakfast, employees there will point customers to Robin’s Nest.
The sharing goes beyond the service industry to where visitors might find clothing or sweet treats. Those business get further support from insurers, legal aid and the large businesses, like LP paying healthy wages to people who spend locally.
Speaking comes naturally to Snider, who went to the state forensics competition for extemporaneous speech. He said his dream as a youngster was to be in front of a crowd with a microphone.
The surprise speech was lauded by those listening, including his bosses.
“It was great,” said Angler’s owner Billie Jo Sabin. “He touched on every detail he needed to. He was speaking to the community and everyone thought he was a hero.”
He mentioned to colleagues at his table what he was about to do, although most didn’t believe he could get up and speak. Except for one person.
“I told him to sit down four times,” said his co-worker Elicia Heinz of Hayward. “He’s like, ‘I’m going to go steal the mic.’ I told him no. But he hit every business in town and was accurate in everything he had to say.”
Snider said he’s only received positive comments from the speech.
As to what impact it had?
“I hope the community can stay together and I hope we can stay busy,” he said.