The past nearly two years have been tough for everyone – including us. A core piece of our mission at Coverstore is to help you protect what you love. As a growing family-owned business, community and people have always been key for us. In light of the global pandemic, we decided to make an even more conscious effort to live our mission of protecting everything and everyone that we love.
We've decided to look back at the past year and a half to see how we've done and to look forward to what the future holds for us as a company and as individuals.
The Start of the Pandemic
We, along with the entire world, were thrown into a panic as COVID-19 spread rapidly. As we own and manage facilities in Texas and abroad, we had to think on our feet and make smart decisions. Hundreds of questions stormed everyone's brains as we tried to comprehend what was going on.
How can we keep our staff safe and healthy? How can we continue to communicate with our customers effectively? How will we balance staying afloat as a business with caring for our community?
Everyone who was able transitioned to the work-from-home lifestyle that so many office workers across the world have grown accustomed to. Our leadership team made the quick decision to move to a mandatory work from home approach for two weeks. Of course, this swiftly changed to "work from home until further notice."
Our warehouse in Texas transitioned to a modified schedule with reduced staff to allow for social distancing and new cleaning requirements. Masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer were distributed daily. We carefully tracked anyone coming into the office to set us up for success if we needed to begin contact tracing due to positive COVID-19 tests. Luckily, due to our precautions and hard-working staff, we were able to avoid any outbreaks.
As two weeks turned to three, which led to four, we soon realized that we were in this for the long haul. This left us struggling to come up with ways to continue to foster the environment of teamwork we had so carefully cultivated. Our HR team and Culture Committee set to work brainstorming ways to keep morale up and engagement high.
Caring for Our Community
Before WFH was set into place, we had planned a company-wide lunch in April 2020 to celebrate the upcoming summer months. However, since we were working remotely and unable to gather, we decided to donate the funds set aside for the lunch to a local hospital. We partnered with FreeRange Concepts and sent 160 meals to the Parkland Hospital doctors and nurses.
North Texas Giving Day, which traditionally takes place in September, was moved up to May to give charitable organizations the boost they needed to care for our struggling community. Coverstore donated to the North Texas Food Bank, a non-profit hunger-relief organization founded in 1982, and Operation Kindness, a no-kill animal shelter based in Carrollton.
The summer of 2020 was a difficult one. The pandemic continued to escalate and protests rocked the nation. As a small business, we were eager to do our part in the ongoing fight for civil justice and equality. We donated $10,000 to NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund to support their efforts towards structural change.
We ended the month of June with an email from a customer asking for a donation. She is an ICU nurse at a hospital in Arizona, where they had two floors of COVID-19 ICU patients staffed by 100 nurses. She used one of our cover storage bags to transport her used scrubs after work to her home and hoped we could supply the rest of the nurses with bags to help them stay sanitized. While we never expected our bags would be used for this – we gladly sent 100 to help these front-line responders.
Like so many other businesses, much of our company worked remotely for most of 2020 (and well into 2021). In light of safety protocols and ongoing health restrictions, we had to find creative ways to stay connected.
Last June, we virtually gathered for our first happy hour to celebrate Pride Month and our LGBTQ+ community. With ready-to-drink cocktails and custom cups and hats distributed by the Committee of Fun, we all gathered safely online to play games and share a (much-needed) drink. An added benefit of our pop culture trivia game - for every correct answer, we donated $1 to The Trevor Project (which ended up being $300 thanks to our culture-savvy team!).
We also continued our partnership with the North Texas Food Bank by helping out in a small outdoor volunteering event at one of their mobile food pantry distribution sites. We masked up, put on our orange safety vests, and handed out bags of groceries to hundreds of people in a drive-through fashion.
We also stuck with our annual tradition of providing everyone in the company with a crucial piece of every Thanksgiving dinner – a turkey, a ham, or two pies.
The Coverstore team ended the year without our usual holiday party, but our resilience as a team still shone through in our ability to simply make it through 2020.
2021 and Beyond
So, that brings us to 2021. The beginning of the year is always brimming with possibilities, and this was augmented by the continuing news of promising vaccine developments.
However, with Coverstore headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, we were hit hard by the February 2021 storm. All while we were dealing with never-before-seen zero-degree temperatures, we faced power outages, damaged homes, and an unprecedented level of stress for ourselves and our team. With our warehouse temporarily closed due to the weather, we quickly got behind on customer orders. Luckily, we have a fantastic warehouse staff who could get us back on track over the following weeks when it was safe to return. When the dust settled, our thoughts turned to our suffering community. We fast-tracked donations to the North Texas Food Bank, Feed the People Dallas, and The Family Place.
Now that many of our staff are vaccinated against COVID-19, we've started venturing out more together. We recently hosted our first in-person outdoor happy hour, where we brought in a food truck and enjoyed each other's company under the hot Texas sun.
We also were able to get back into volunteering. This time, we set out to work at the Plano Community Garden, which provides over 5,000 pounds of organic produce every year to local food pantries. We pulled weeds, harvested berries, planted herbs, and got our hands dirty.
Communities are only as strong as the people within them. As a company, it is our responsibility to protect and nourish our employees, our community, and the world around us – even if many of them don't know who we are (yet!).
2020 is a year that we will never forget. It challenged us, wore us out, and made us rethink our priorities. But it did not break us, and we are stronger for it. Coverstore remains dedicated to helping our community, strengthening our employees, and holding true to our core values.
"Corporate social responsibility" is often thrown onto a website to make a business sound good. Performative activism is a phrase that took off through 2020, and with good reason. People worldwide were calling for brands to do more, make an impact, and put their money where their mouth is. As a small business, we recognize that we're not always able to have as large of an impact as we may like. But the advantage of being small is our flexibility. Our leadership team can propose, approve, and act on donations within days, where this may take larger corporations weeks to months. We didn't want to be just another brand on social media preaching responsibility – we wanted to take action and make a difference. And we are proud to say that we did just that.
With genuine sincerity, we hope you have come through these past two years stronger and trusting in your own resilience. As we celebrate our 16th anniversary, we want to thank you for sticking with us. We look forward to helping you protect what you love for years to come.