Steve Payne has been a good neighbor in Carbondale for nearly 45 years. While still in college, he purchased Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza, which continues to be a local favorite today. In honor of Payne’s growing contributions to community organizations, and the top-notch Quatro’s pizza, he has received a 'Neighborly' Award. Inspired by educator and all-around great neighbor, Fred Rogers, this campaign recognizes role models in the community.
WISU Public Broadcasting, a service of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, created the 'Neighborly' Awards to recognize those who make a positive impact in the community.
While just 21 years old, Payne purchased the pizza place with “a passion for restaurant management and soon set about turning his venture into a success.” He renovated the interior, doubling the size of the dining area. While business initially dried up when Southern Illinois University let out for the summer, a bicentennial bike ride in 1976 brought thousands of hungry bikers to the restaurant when Carbondale was designated as a rest stop. Many returned home to share the news about the great pizza they enjoyed, and now Payne serves pizza to the college-aged kids of his original customers.
However, Payne goes beyond the dough, sauce, cheese and toppings. He increasingly supports individuals and organizations in the Carbondale community with his “Learn to Earn” program, which offers the dual backing of fundraising through gift certificate sales and education. His efforts have championed the Humane Society of Southern Illinois, St. Francis CARE Animal Shelter, heart walks and schools among many others.
“Our goal is not to be a ‘one and done’ when it comes to working with local organizations,” said Payne, who still eats at Quatro’s three times a week. “We’re developing relationships.”
The gift certificate segment of the fundraiser started with two young boys looking for work so they could raise funds for a school band trip. Payne instead encouraged them to sell restaurant gift certificates, and the duo sold $1,500 worth, a significant contribution to their trip. This has become the “secret sauce” to help organizations earn more money through fundraisers.
Payne was nominated for the 'Neighborly' award by customer, Missy Brown, of Marion, Ill., who has been impressed by Quatro’s support of the local community through fundraisers. “So many businesses float along status quo, but Quatro’s is really giving these community organizations a chance to grow. People come in to eat in support of the organizations while enjoying some delicious food.”
After all these decades, Payne still enjoys connecting with pizza lovers of all ages. “Working the floor is really the only glue you have…it’s the icing on the cake to create those relationships.”
He added that he was inspired to do good by his parents, who raised five kids. “They wanted better for their kids than they had. They did not necessarily give us everything under the sun we wanted, but they worked hard to teach us to see opportunities to do and be better in helping others.”
About One Region All Neighbors
Inspired by the life and legacy of Fred Rogers and in honor of his vision, WSIU’s One Region, All Neighbors initiative encourages community members to nominate those who are making positive contributions through acts of kindness, compassion and service. Each month, winners are chosen from nominations submitted by the public in five categories—individual, youth, educator, community group and business. WSIU recognizes these winners on its television and radio stations, website and social media. All awardees and nominators will be invited to attend a special ceremony where they will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to their communities.
Nominate Your Neighbors
WSIU encourages the public to participate in One Region, All Neighbors campaign by nominating neighbors online at http://www.wsiu.org/neighbor and sharing on social media using #WeAreAllNeighbors.
About WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting is licensed to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University and is an integral part of the College of Mass Communication & Media Arts on the Carbondale campus. The WSIU stations reach more than five million people across six states and beyond through five digital public television channels, three public radio stations, a radio information service, a website and education and outreach services. They partner with other community organizations to promote positive change and to support the academic and public service missions of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Learn more and get the latest station news online at wsiu.org and on WSIU's Facebook and Twitter pages.