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Cinnamon rolls keep rolling out at the LOACC

Changes implemented to help program continue with the sweet taste of success in Lake Oswego
by: Cliff Newell, 
When the big mixer is not working, Norine Miller, left, and Sharon Shannon can still mix things up for the cinnamon roll program at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center. Miller and Shannon are among the “unsung heroes” who make the program a success.

The Lake Oswego Adult Community Center came up with a recipe for success in its cinnamon roll program last year.

Take one great product, Jo Volm's Famous Cinnamon Rolls.

Add a little successful marketing technique and publicity.

Add a lot of hard work.

Voilé, you've got yourself one sweet little moneymaker, one that pumped a much-needed $8,000 into the ACC's Meals Program.

'This program was huge for building good feeling at the center,' said ACC executive director Brenda Suteu. 'The members enjoyed having the rolls back, and they helped make the center more visible in the community.'

The cash influx also helped the ACC purchase new kitchen equipment for the first time in 20 to 30 years.

'For us it was the first time to be in a position to replace equipment,' said Andy Harris, former co-chairman of the ACC Meals Advisory Board. 'It was a wonderful place to be.'

But for the cash and good vibrations to continue, changes are planned for the cinnamon roll program.

'We could either take it to the next step or we could discontinue it,' said Harris. 'I felt we could take it to the next step.'

To do that, new people were needed to operate the program. Last year's program was essentially a one-person operation, and that person was Suteu. On Saturdays she would make all of the preparations, sell the cinnamon rolls at the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market, then come back to the ACC and clean up.

That was a giant responsibility for someone whose main job was running a senior citizens center, and it didn't help when she sold out of cinnamon rolls by 10:30 a.m. Not when market vendors are supposed to have enough product to last until 1:30 p.m.

Thankfully, Harris and Gail Keck are stepping into the breach. Although stepping down after three-year terms as chairpersons of the meals advisory board, they still had a strong desire to serve the ACC. Taking over leadership of the cinnamon roll program was the way to do it.

'We're looking to get this program on a firm business foundation,' Harris said.

'We plan to be there all summer,' said Keck, whose background as a CPA will help keep the program effective. 'We'll have members of the meals advisory board or the computer learning center.'

That's another new element to the mix. Members of the computer learning center are signing on for Saturday duty, and the net proceeds from the days they work will go toward purchasing some much-needed Macintosh computers.

One more big change: This year the cinnamon roll program is moving beyond the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market. Already on sale at Mary's Woods and My Place Deli on Kruse Way, Harris and Keck and company will be seeking to put the rolls in more and more places in the Lake Oswego area.

'We're looking for ways other than the farmers' market,' said Ruth Berberich, program director at the ACC. 'Like assisted living centers and delis and coffee shops. We're going to need a lot of volunteers to make the program work. To bake, sell and deliver the rolls.'

The baking is in excellent hands. Julynne Pang, head chef at the ACC, has taken over the chef's position for the cinnamon roll project. She will be ably assisted by the people that Suteu likes to call 'our unsung heroes.' They rollcall of heroes include Maryanne Nosler, Norine Miller, John Fowlkes, Kristal Robbins, Sharon Shannon, Inkeri Iswashita, Don Moffett, and Dee Dudek.

Certainly, these are a lot of changes to swallow, but some crucial things will remain the same. For one thing, Jo Volm is still around, offering advice on the rolls that made her famous.

'Jo still volunteers,' Suteu said. 'She's alive and well and as beautiful as ever.'

And one more thing.

'The rolls are back and as scrumptious as ever,' Suteu said.

'The rolls are delicious!' Harris said.

For more information about Jo Volm's Famous Cinnamon Rolls or any other program at the ACC, call 503-635-3758.