The frequency of patronage that a store experiences is directly related to its place in the community. Good customer service and supply that meets demand are only parts of what a great store may provide. The Civic 50, an initiative that recognizes the top 50 civic-minded companies in the country annually, has determined that these kinds of community-involved businesses prosper from their generosity.
Participation is essential to belonging. People give stores money in exchange for goods; this is interaction and not participation. There is still a separation of consumer and merchant. These roles can be expanded into stronger bonds of community, especially for a local convenience store. Big companies, like ConAgra and Hershey, are recognized for sponsoring various community campaigns throughout the nation, but this generosity operates on a corporate level. The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group pledged fifty million dollars over a three-year period to the construction of more than forty playgrounds throughout the Washington DC area through charity KaBOOM!.
Though your local store may not be able to sponsor million dollar donations to civic projects, it may yet benefit from association with Fortune 500 companies. Using the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group gesture as an example, a local store could partner with them to build a playground in the store's area. Volunteers from the store, their families and friends, and community leaders and members could come together for the greater good of the children in the community. Once completed, the store could sponsor and co-sponsor playground events and specials in the store, especially while children are out of school for the summer and during holidays.
What's good for the community benefits members of the community in different ways. These mutual civic activities have been proven to yield higher overall net profit through increased employee retention and productivity. Investment in the community could be specific in rewards for consistent shoppers or incentives for new or less consistent customers. Participation in local school and church fundraisers can also connect people in the community with people who work for a particular store. Your store becomes more a part of the local people and less a part of a separate corporate entity.