It was a miracle nobody was injured. But the tragedy is still monumental for the people who lost their homes. And, for a business, it’s hard to imagine a more difficult situation to be in.
Losing a multi-million dollar property to a fire is traumatic for a company in this industry. It would be natural for them to focus on their loss and how to deal with the financial and other implications of this tragedy.
But the owner of this apartment community has taken a different approach. They’ve focused their efforts and resources on helping their customers first. Here are some things they have done to help (and they’ve done all these in less than 24 hours):
- The company chairman has personally donated $50,000 to help the families who lost their homes.
- They facilitated the creation of a $100,000 fund ($50k from the owner and $50k from another Twin Cities businessman.)
- They have set up collection points for donations.
- They are helping their residents relocate to other communities owned by the company.
- They are refunding resident’s security deposits AND December’s rent – TODAY.
Our community has responded phenomenally to this. The high school opened their doors as a temporary shelter. Students there have been collecting donations of all kinds and helping in other ways. According to one radio station, all day long there has been a constant stream of people bringing arm loads of gifts, food, clothing – anything and everything you can think of to help.
From the StarTribune:
“Some local residents offered the fire refugees shelter in their own homes, while others brought supplies and toys to the high school in hopes they could be of some comfort to neighbors who’d lost everything right before Christmas.”
Fortunately, this is the norm. But it never fails to move me. There’s something magical about people reaching out to help complete strangers. It’s even more touching this time of year when we tend to be busier than ever.
But I was also impressed at the response of the company that owns and manages the apartment community.
Rather than focusing on their issues (which could be many and significant). they chose to help their customers first. Actually, it surprised me a little because this behavior is counter to so much of what we hear these days about corporate America. Greed and selfishness have become all too common. And they have ruined many large, well respected businesses, even threatened entire industries.
As I read about their actions (the apartment owners) it seemed to me they’re playing by different rules than Wall Street, Big Auto and other industries that have become mired in their self-focused gluttony. Maybe this company is using a different playbook.
A quick look at their website suggests I was right. The first thing you see on their home page is this:
“Behind every venture at The Goodman Group, there are people who care about what they do…”
The page ends with this message:
“Although the entities of The Goodman Group differ in their focus, they share the common spirit of caring about what they do and the people they serve.”
For many companies, this would be nothing more than marketing fluff. But for the Goodman Group, it appears to guide their actions. It appears to be part of their value system. I don’t know the people at this company but I’m glad they’re a part of my community. Because if this is the norm for them then it’s clear they care about their customers. And that’s the first step to having loyal customers. If you don’t care, nothing else matters.
So I thank this company for having corporate values that say “I care” and following these values with actions that serve their customers. They make our community a better place.
As silly as this may seem, songs like ” never gonna give you up lyrics ” remind me of companies that care about their customers. And yes, feel free to get a good laugh about this last sentence!