People were speculating about how the businesses would co-exist, or how the two would compete, but POP ROC owner Jason Hilton, and Morgan’s owner Cheria Anderson have decided to become cooperative, and not competitive.
“We are not competing against each other, we both have a similiar idea in mind of service,” Anderson said. “We want to make sure that the community knows that we are not apart of any ‘war’ or any confrontation, that we are working together to bring a positive change to this community. We are trying build a safe place, and a safe community, with limited-to-no negativity. We’re open to everybody to come in with open arms, and at the same time, keep an open communication with the owners of POP ROC.”
“We believe we have a responsibility,” said Angelina, Jason’s wife. “We believe in our community and the responsibility is that we upload our core values — our core values are fun, creativity, community, and safety above all else.”
This spirit of cooperation started when the two owners first met each other. That spirit is stronger now after the response online from our story of Morgan’s opening was instant, and intense. Comments online regarding the opening ranged from positive, to disparaging, to rude and inappropriate.
“It is a concern and a little disheartening with some of the hostility and animosity that is going on on social media, because we are in the business of building bridges, not walls,” Angelina said. “Because we didn’t go into business to be in competition with other businesses, we are here to celebrate our differences and build up our community.”
“If you spend any amount of time on social media, you’ll find that to be true, always,” Jason said. “We can’t control that.”
Jason says what they can control is how they respond.
“We’ve had the opportunity already,” Jason said. “A couple people walked in and sat down and said ‘Is this where you take our order?’ and I said, ‘I don’t think you’re at the right place. It’s across the street.'”
Jason also believes cooperation is key to building any community, and helping beyond their business.
“There’s a lot of work that we do outside of POP ROC, and they’re outisde of POP ROC,” Jason said. “I don’t care who they are, if we can include them in our mission to better our community, Rochester, then we’re doing the right thing.”
For Morgan’s and POP ROC, its about something greater.
“It’s never been about cereal, it’s was never about cereal, it’s about how we serve the community,” Jason said. “If we do that first, we can make an impact in other ways.”