If you’re like most of your peers who also are adjusting to life during COVID-19, you’ve probably spent most of the last two months making sure your employees and customers are healthy and retooling your business practices to protect your bottom line.
In other words, you’ve been swamped.
During times like these — when doing whatever it takes to keep people safe and the doors open becomes an all-consuming priority — it’s human nature to zero in on what’s directly in front of us while blocking out the rest.
But sometimes it’s good for the soul to hit the pause button and lend a helping hand to someone who needs it.
That’s what Christie Stock, president of Logan, Utah-based Associated Tire Stores, and her team have discovered.
They’re taking time out of their busy schedules to deliver meals prepared by local restaurants to health care workers at hospitals, urgent care centers and COVID-19 testing facilities.
Why? “To let them know how much we appreciate them,” says Christie, who, in her spare time, is responsible for the operation of 13 retails stores across a huge, three-state territory.
No hidden sales pitch. No ulterior motives. No other reason beyond supporting the people who bravely support the rest of us.
And the restaurants, which have been reeling from lost income, benefit, too.
Christie’s dealership also is offering front-line workers 10% off any service or repair that their personal vehicles may require. (That includes the purchase of new tires.)
“It could be a doctor, a nurse, a paramedic, a firefighter, a police officer — we’ll pick up their vehicle, take it back to our store and work on it so they don’t have to leave their workplace.
“We’ll use steering wheel covers, floor mats and seat covers. Then we’ll sanitize everything, including their keys, which we’ll put in a special bag, and return the cars to them.”
Helping stressed-out, exhausted workers “is the least we can do,” says Christie. “These people are putting their lives at risk every day. They need all the support they can get.”
In addition, many of her employees have taken it upon themselves to phone businesses that are still open within their communities “to let people know, ‘We’re here. We can work on your vehicles. But what else can we do for you?’”
Their efforts have generated what she calls “unexpected but awesome” results.
“People are now asking us, ‘What can we do to give back? How can we contribute to what you’re doing?’ It’s created positive conversations in our communities.”
Christie’s father, Larry Nicholls, founded Associated Tire Stores in 1976. Since then, the dealership has survived four national recessions and several pandemics. (The same year Larry opened his first store, America was shaking off a particularly vicious form of the swine flu.)
“We’ve told our employees that we’re going to get through the current situation, too,” says Christie.
But until then, “it’s time to be there for each other. We all need to help each other stay strong.
“We have to stay focused on what’s important — and if we do, we will get through this and emerge as stronger businesses, stronger communities and a stronger nation.” ■
What is your dealership doing to help others during the COVID-19 crisis? Let us know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.