It’s a given that owners and managers will go to great lengths to portray their business as something more than a means for generating income. Often, they’ll advertise themselves as selflessly devoted to customer’s needs, or try to evoke an image of family — hey, we would do anything for family, right? — rather than admit the primary purpose of most any business is to make money.
That said, there are times we’re reminded these things aren’t mutually exclusive; a business’s management can hope to be profitable while also stepping up in the community and for its customers.
Right now, everyone is feeling the effects of COVID-19. If not physically — and we hope that’s not the case — then financially, socially, mentally. These are strange times. Most of us have had our routines disrupted. That’s annoying and uncomfortable, but tolerable.
But many are also facing tougher times. They’re out of work or have reduced hours, or maybe inundated with work under hazardous conditions. They may be seeing people around them suffer from the illness or fear for those close to them. They may have spent years building and investing in a venture that’s suddenly endangered.
And then there are some who are taking steps to help those in need, even as their own lives or businesses may be in disarray.
A few examples have been highlighted in The Sentinel’s coverage, though they are not the only ones by any means. They include:
Ted McGreer of Ted’s Shoe & Sport in Keene, organizing a “virtual 5K” run to benefit local businesses. Runs and walks have been common fundraisers for years. In this case, participants in the Greater Keene Community 5K Saturday and Sunday purchase gift cards to local businesses as their entrance fee. They can do the actual running any time over the weekend and on any course they choose — so long as they keep their distance from others. The gift cards will provide the local businesses with much-needed revenue at a time when they may have had to close or limit customers’ access. And the runners can eventually choose to use their credit at the shops.
SoClean, the Peterborough-based maker of C-PAP cleaning technology, leading Masks for New Hampshire, an initiative to obtain and donate at least 250,000 masks to Granite State health care providers by April 17. The company’s already made its first donations to Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough and Cheshire Medical Center in Keene.
Bulldog Design in Keene, creating and printing T-shirts bearing the names or logos of local businesses or nonprofit agencies, to be sold to raise money for those organizations. Bulldog founder Joe Tolman and his family started the Great Grey Tee Project when they saw local companies losing business due to social-distancing protocols. More than half of the $19 cost of each shirt goes to the entity named on it, plus they get the marketing boost of having someone walking around bearing their name or logo. A more generalized shirt is also being sold, noting the project itself, with funds going toward a variety of causes related to the pandemic, such as supporting first responders, medical workers and others on the front lines of the crisis.
The return on investment for all of these efforts, and others, isn’t financial gain. It’s in strengthening the community in which these companies and organizations operate; taking care of each other is also taking care of customers, clients, employees and vendors. It keeps strong the connection between businesses and those upon whom they depend.
Ultimately, that’s a surefire payoff.