Retail Impact on Communities

Retail Impact on Communities

In most communities, retailers play an obvious role: selling products customers want and need, when they want and need them. But as the trade association for America’s retail leaders, we know that retailers are so much more than a store; retailers are part of the community. 

For the high school student looking to earn their first paycheck, retailers offer a first job opportunity with flexible hours to accommodate study time. For towns bracing for and recovering from natural disasters, retailers often serve as crucial suppliers and first responders. For veterans and military service members, retailers offer support and opportunity. 

Pandemic Response

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers have been among those on the front lines helping communities stay safe and healthy, showing up as true leaders in communities large and small. Leading retailers were quick to adapt their operations to keep employees and customers safe, while ensuring they still had access to the food and supplies they needed. They expanded checkout and delivery options to include curbside pickup, same-day delivery, in-store pickup, and more, and adopted new in-store protocols to meet the guidance offered by our nation's health experts.

Many retailers have also stepped up during this global health crisis to assist with drive-through COVID-19 testing sites on their store properties and are also playing a key role helping the government distribute coronavirus vaccines to long-term care facilities like nursing homes and to the broader population. In addition, many retailers are offering employees incentives for getting the vaccine, in an effort to boost the nation's ongoing vaccination campaign.

Dive into how specific retailers have been rising to the challenge of the pandemic here.

Relief Efforts

With stores and associates in communities large and small throughout the U.S., retailers are uniquely positioned to play an important role in both disaster preparedness and recovery. From hurricane season to unexpected events, retailers are always ready to answer the call in the wake of disaster and ensure people have the support and resources they need to weather the storm.

  • Home Depot’s Hurricane Plan Includes 35 Truckloads of Generators – Bloomberg
  • Lowe’s sending supplies to the coast in preparation for Hurricane Dorian – WBTV
  • When Natural Disasters Near, Team Target Springs Into Action – A Bullseye View

In times of need, RILA works closely with our retail member companies, federal agencies, and local partners to help ensure employees and customers are out of harm’s way and that they have access to lifesaving supplies quickly and efficiently. 

“Retailers are often the front line of relief for those in need. Whether it’s providing water, fuel, shelter, or life-saving medicine, retailers do everything they can to help their associates, customers and the communities they serve rise up after the storm."

Lisa LaBruno
  • Senior Executive Vice President, Retail Operations
  • Washington, DC

Supporting our Veterans

Retailers recognize the value of military service and understand the importance of honoring those who have given so much for our country. In addition to offering military discounts to veterans and active-duty military service members, several RILA members have dedicated veteran-focused initiatives they lead throughout the year to show ongoing support for those who have served.

And as one of the nation’s largest employers, many retailers have made robust commitments to hiring more veterans, service members, and military spouses, and as with all employees, offer clear paths for growth to veterans looking to build a career in retail. 

  • Walmart doubles up goal in veterans hiring program – Memphis Business Journal
  • How Walgreens Has Stepped It Up and Hired More Veterans – Triple Pundit

Industry of Opportunity 

With acknowledgment of their roles as pillars of the community and employers that help drive economic growth, retailers are making significant investments in young members of the community. By participating in events like collegiate hackathons and global retail challenges, retailers are engaging directly with future talent to outline the opportunities that exist in the retail industry and to help provide a path forward.

  • Best Buy opens fifth Teen Tech Center in St. Paul – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  • Gap expands entry-level program to help make staff more diverse – LA Times
  • Dollar General wants to attract – and keep – the best – Chain Store Age
  • Leading in the Community
  • Retail Works for All of Us
  • Building Communities
  • Retail Impact

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