January 15, 2020 | Peter Brown
At a Foundation for the Carolinas press event last April, David Brooks stood out not because of his striking grey hair, well-groomed beard or his attire (dressed for work in khaki cargo shorts and a Brooks Sandwich House polo), but for what he and his family were there to announce – the donation of 2.1-acre plot of land in east Charlotte to Habitat for Humanity. While the monetary value of their gift was much smaller than the large corporate pledges announced that day, its symbolism was significant.
When asked why they were donating the land, David explained that is was a way that he and his twin brother Scott could help and give back to a community that had given their family so much over the years.
The relationship between Brooks Sandwich House and Habitat Charlotte goes back several decades. Brooks’ Charlotte-area establishment was founded by Scott and David’s father C.T. in 1973. A decade later Habitat Charlotte was formed, and during its early years occupied several locations near the sandwich shop’s NoDa location. Many early staffers made it a habit to frequent Brooks for breakfast and lunch.
Bert Green, former Habitat Charlotte CEO and long-time affordable housing advocate, recalls how engaged David and Scott were, even back in the early days. “They are humble people and care deeply about their community. The brothers were always asking what Habitat was doing, where we were building. They had a vested interest in our mission.”
On a grey Monday morning on December 9, local news reported that a shooting had occurred at the sandwich house involving a Brooks employee. By late morning the media confirmed that as Scott Brooks arrived in the early morning to open the store, he was assaulted and shot. Scott succumbed to his injuries.
The news rocked Charlotte.
At a candle light vigil held the following evening, David Brooks expressed his feelings for the outpouring of love and support felt from the community. “Guys, you don’t know how much this means to me,” David Brooks, told the gatherers. “My heart’s broken, but my spirit’s not broken. We are going to be back.”
Scott (left) & David (right) Brooks; photo by Alex Cason.
Per David’s promise, the eatery will be back in business soon. At a press gathering last Thursday, David, family members and employees announced the reopening of Brooks Sandwich House on February 1.
Lauren Brooks, Scott’s niece, addressed the media, “It’s amazing to see everybody come together with Scott, and I think Scott would be really proud.” She also announced new store hours will be 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. “Everyone will get here at the same time from now on. We’re going to be a lot safer,” said Lauren.
It was also announced that several NoDa and area breweries will be brewing a beer in memory of Scott. “We wanted to find a way to pay our respects to the family and to celebrate Scott’s life; it makes sense to brew a Pale Lager, his favorite beer style,” said Mike Salzarulo of Protagonist.
When asked what his brother would think of the situation, David Brooks commented “he wouldn’t want us to quit and give up…just keep going, keep going.” He added “my brother always said his phrase was ‘too blessed to be stressed.’”
In honor of that saying, Glory Days Apparel has partnered with the Brooks family to create a t-shirt in Scott’s memory, featuring his favorite “Too blessed to be stressed” mantra. Pre-orders are now available and will be shipping in early February.
Through an amazing gesture, the Brooks family also announced all proceeds from Scott Brooks memorial beer and t-shirt sales will be donated to Habitat Charlotte. This further act of charity complements their initial gift and ensures Scott’s legacy will live on in the families touched by the Brooks’ generosity.
You can show your support for Scott and Brooks Sandwich House by attending the store reopening or by purchasing beer and t-shirts. More information can be found at the links below.