In the July issue of AMN magazine, we shared insights from leadership at today’s top program groups for our Midyear Distribution Update.
We asked the program group leaders what they and their program partners did during the COVID crisis to help front-line workers or the communities they do business in. These are just a few of the remarkable stories of kindness and generosity that were unearthed:
J.C. Washbish, Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance:
“Rain, shine or COVID-19, our motto is ‘Service is the Difference,’ and our shops and stores did an extraordinary job exemplifying that motto in a variety of ways throughout the pandemic. One group of Bumper to Bumper shops and parts stores in Wisconsin partnered together to offer health care workers and first responders free oil changes for a week. A Certified Service Center in Ohio held a food drive to provide 500 lunches to children. Another shop participated in a community art contest to spark creativity in children, and an auto supply store within our network repurposed an automotive gravity-fed spray gun and coiled air hose to better enable local police and fire departments to quickly and easily disinfect surfaces after responding to calls.”
David Prater, Automotive Distribution Network:
“We’ve been very aggressive in procuring all the possible PPE we could get our hands on, from masks to gloves to hand sanitizer, and making those available to our members and their employees. We’ve also gotten much more into vehicle protection for our Car Care Centers and ASE customers with seat and steering-wheel covers and vehicle foggers. We feel some of these protections will most likely stay in place for the foreseeable future, and we plan on helping meet those criteria for protecting employees and customers going forward.”
Robert Roos, National Pronto Association:
“First, let me say how grateful we are to have received such outstanding support from our members, professional service centers and supplier partners throughout this situation. We have teamed up to initiate local programs to help front-line workers all over the country, and have offered other support like free oil changes and discounted vehicle repair services. Members have delivered meals to hospitals, care centers, donated time and money to charities like the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF), and generally supported community events nationwide.”
Sue Godschalk, Federated Auto Parts:
“At the onset of the pandemic, we started working immediately with many different suppliers to get adequate quantities of masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for our employees and our members, many of which were donating these items to first responders and front-line workers in their areas.”
It struck me that we don’t hear these kinds of “feel-good” stories enough. We talk until we are blue in the face about how this industry is so special because of its people. Yet, when was the last time you publicly acknowledged an industry colleague’s hard work, creativity or extra effort?
So this is my humble request: Next time you see something, say something. And then, tell me about it (my contact info is at the end of this column).
I want to flood the pages of AMN with the untold stories of generosity and action that we know are going on in the aftermarket day after day. AMN wants to get the good word out there. We want to shout it from the rooftops. Email me some info about the positive, generous and inspiring acts of others in this industry and both of you might just see your smiling faces in an upcoming issue.
Thinking Outside the Box
And speaking of good ideas … Earlier this week I got an email from Marriott that really caught my eye. The subject line read: “Shop Wellness Essentials from Your Favorite Hotel Brands.” And this is the opening graphic that led me to click.
With travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines in place across the country, hotel companies are among the biggest businesses taking a major hit right now. However, rather than sitting on the sidelines, Marriott decided to get creative and tapped into a valuable branding opportunity for themselves.
As American families stick close to home this summer, many are outfitting their homes with items to bring wellness, relaxation and summer fun right to their backyards. (As an example, have you tried finding an inflatable pool to buy anywhere right now? Good luck with that.)
So, tapping into consumers’ desire to make their home a haven this summer, Marriott is allowing consumers who can’t enjoy all the amenities of a stay at one of their hotel brands to bring a little piece of that luxury home – by way of plush bathrobes, comfy bedding and high-end toiletries for sale. Brilliant, isn’t it?
Surely there are opportunities like this in the aftermarket as well. How is your business thinking outside the box to serve customers during this challenging moment in time? Let us know. Email me at [email protected]. AMN