COVID-19 Is testing entrepreneurs and businesses alike in a way we have never experienced before. It is times like these that truly test a business’s willingness to serve their community and the greater good. Giving back in these times can look very different for different businesses, but what matters is the effort and heart behind the act. There are stories of businesses and individuals who have used this trying time for selfish purposes and monetary gain.
The next three stories you are about to hear are of companies that are rejecting this type of thinking and pursuing a course of action that helps those in need instead. These three businesses also happen to be located in my community of Dallas, Texas. When I heard that these business leaders were going to such extreme measures to help the community, I was amazed and wanted to bring awareness to their acts of service.
Southwest Spirits and Wine
Southwest Spirits and Wine is a Dallas-based company who saw the need for hand sanitizer in Dallas and quickly responded by providing a solution through innovation. Hand sanitizer has become one of the scarcest household products during the pandemic thanks to profiteers. Southwest Spirits and Wine, the creators of Nue Vodka, decided to utilize their facilities in creating 330 gallons of hand sanitizer for first responders and health care workers.
Before they decided to give this massive amount of hand sanitizer away, they received calls from profiteers who were interested in making money through this process. This Dallas distillery only saw an opportunity to help. They worked with state and local officials in Dallas County to produce 25 tons of hand sanitizer which they proceeded to donate. Southwest Wine and Spirits is the biggest donor of hand-sanitizer in the state and has never asked for a penny. This truly is an example of a company with a redemptive mindset.
The next organization that is going above and beyond during the pandemic is the Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban, the owner of the franchise, was one of the first big names in sports to weigh in on his perspective on the pandemic. Mark Cuban commented on how loyal he and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks franchise are to every employee of the franchise and wish to protect them at all costs. Mark Cuban has since decided to pay each employee, working or not, as if nothing had changed. Cuban has been widely respected for this decision and many franchises and businesses alike are following in The Mavericks footsteps.
This type of leadership teaches us several things. It teaches us that our employees are more than just a means to an end. These individuals must be protected by the companies they work for especially during difficult times. This attitude slowly develops a culture of loyalty which will serve to the betterment of the business as a whole.
Another business that has gone above and beyond for their customers, as well as their employees, is Lowe’s. In Dallas, residents have a close tie to Lowe’s for everything from home improvement to gardening. My family has always trusted Lowe’s and has gone to them for all-things home improvement. One of my best friends was laid off his job as a manager at a Dallas area AMC movie theater. He quickly began searching for another job and came across Lowe’s. He applied for a sales associate position and started working the following week.
When I asked him about the job, he told me that he has never worked for anyone who has treated him so kindly. He said that Lowe’s is handling the pandemic incredibly well. Lowe’s is considered an essential business and therefore, is remaining open. To thank its employees for their diligent work, Lowe’s is paying every full-time, part-time, and seasonal associates $2 more than their regular pay. Not only are they increasing the employee’s pay, but they are being offered 14 days of emergency paid leave for all associates who need it. This applies to illness, simply caring for a loved one, or are being faced with difficult circumstances with schools being closed and such.
On top of this, Lowe’s is extending emergency paid leave up to a total of four weeks for those at a greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. They are also creating pantries in stores so that associates can have access to food while at the store and to take home. They have established a $170 million dollar commitment and are dedicating $20 million dollars of that fund to support the emerging needs of their associates, customers, and communities. They have donated as much protective equipment as they possibly can. This is a perfect example of how businesses should treat their communities and give back to the world.