How Retailers are Helping to Rebuild in the Wake of Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew left a global path of destruction from the Southeast United States all the way to the Caribbean, leaving hundreds of fatalities in its wake. The storm proved to be the most powerful of its kind to threaten the Atlantic Coast in more than decade. As residents work to try and rebuild their lives, we’re already seeing how a storm of this enormity has effect on many different aspects of people’s lives – emotional, physical, economical.
What sort of impact has Hurricane Matthew had within the retail world?
As victims work to try and rebuild their lives, we’re already seeing what sort of impact Hurricane Matthew has had within the world of retail. Of course, as with every disaster, retailers can expect a massive influx in foot traffic as those affected raid the aisles in search of supplies to weather the storm. Luckily, many East Coast merchants were able to anticipate (at least some of) the impact the storm might have and ordered extra products ahead of time. Regardless, some regions are still experiencing shortages when it comes to staples like water and propane.
How retailers (and others) are stepping up
Last week, Lowe’s announced that they would donate $500,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief in order to help those affected. Lowe’s is reportedly “working with its national nonprofit partner to provide both immediate and long-term support to local communities in the storm’s path from eastern Florida, the Georgia coast and coastal South Carolina.” The retail chain has also instituted a donation program in over 100 stores as a convenient means for customers to donate. Shoppers may also make contributions online.
On October 13th, the Home Depot Foundation also committed $500,000 towards disaster relief in Atlantic coastal communities impacted by the hurricane. The contribution is in addition to the $1,000,000 donation the home-improvement chain made to the American Red Cross earlier this year. Non-profit partner Team Rubicon will be using Home Depot’s store parking lots as their operating base in the impacted areas until further notice.
For their part, CVS Pharmacy is moving generators into areas in need as well as stocking their stores with emergency items and supplies. They are also working to provide patients with updates regarding their prescriptions through their automated notification programs. “We have been working with insurers to allow for early refills in certain cases and since the storm warnings have begun” said Kevin Hurricane, CVS Health’s executive vice president of retail pharmacy and supply chain. CVS will also allow one-time emergency refills of a 10-day medication supply for plan members in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew.
While major retailers step up to do their part, others hope to bring peace of mind to impacted residents as well. North Carolina has enforced price gauging laws that do just that, hoping to put a stop to any potential misconduct by manufacturers, retailers and distributors. Meanwhile, the IRS hopes to provide relief to the victims’ taxes. North Carolina storm victims will have until mid-March to file individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. Workers in a recognized government or philanthropic organization who are assisting in the relief efforts also qualify.
It’s times like these that we really need to come together – and it’s amazing to see companies stepping up to the plate. Commerce shouldn’t be completely transactional. Retail is more about people (and building relationships with them) than it is about selling. Kind-hearted moves like the ones above are the perfect example of that.
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