STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 36

n BUSINESS OPERATIONS

A Helping Hand
Lowe's expands training program to help communities in need

by PAUL VACHON

A

clothing retailer once used the tagline,
"An educated consumer is our
best customer." They were clearly onto
something - perhaps in ways they didn't
quite realize.
In late August 2017, Hurricane Harvey
made landfall on the gulf coast of Texas.
The Category 4 storm brought winds
of some 130 miles per hour and over 40
inches of rainfall. It carries the distinction
of being both the wettest and costliest
storm in U.S. history, at some $125
billion.
Damage from a major storm like
Harvey is an equal opportunity calamity
- retailers who came to the aid of local
communities will share their processes
for managing disasters in the opening
keynote of NRF PROTECT, June 12 in
Dallas. Businesses, factories and homes
both large and small were all equally
impacted by the tragedy, creating a
gargantuan need for skilled construction
labor. Media coverage drew attention
to the need, but once the TV cameras
were gone, it became easy for the rest of
36

STORES April 2018

the nation to forget the plight of those
affected.
After home and business owners
finished the grunt work of tearing out
and removing debris, countless acres
of drywall needed to be replaced,
countertops laid and floors installed. The
magnitude of the need far outstripped the
capabilities of local professionals.
A savvy retailer can look at a situation
like this and see an opportunity for
community service. That's where home
improvement chain Lowe's comes in.
TEACHING DIY
"Months after a storm can be the most
challenging time," says Matt Rice, Lowe's
market director of stores. "With much of
the nation's attention shifting and a lack of
skilled workers, it's important to remember
the vast devastation that persists."
Lowe's had introduced its UpSkill
Project a month before Harvey; the
innovative series of in-store classes and
onsite mentoring sessions is designed to
teach basic skills to homeowners who

have the will to tackle home improvement
projects but lack the expertise.
The UpSkill Project recruits both
Lowe's associates and specialized
experts - designers, general contractors,
craftsmen and teachers - to help program
participants define and plan projects,
purchase required materials and tools,
and master the skills necessary to make it
happen. The experts don't do the work;
rather, they "teach and guide as needed,"
the company says.
"They help participants overcome obstacles
by showing them failures are normal part of
the process and by instilling confidence to
make the next time, the best time."
The classes are hands-on, with students
taking instruction and then actually
practicing the chosen skill within the
store. Instructors are advised to be
patient, as many attendees have little to no
background in home improvement.
In response to the unwelcome arrival of
Harvey, the company decided to intensify
the program at locations in the greater
Houston area, and provide a special
emphasis on disaster recovery.
"The demand for skilled labor in
markets in Houston is so high, many
homeowners and tenants must do the
repair themselves," says Ruth Crowley, vice
president of customer experience design at
Lowe's. "We wanted to assist in filling this
gap by offering free, skill-based workshops
to Lowe's employees and local community
members in flood-devastated areas, in
an effort to help them put their homes,
community and lives back together."
PAY IT FORWARD
Even without the urgency created by the
storm, the need for home improvement
know-how is considerable. According to
Crowley, 35 percent of American adults
are without the skills needed to perform a
basic "do it yourself" project.
"The workshops gave Houstonians the
opportunity to learn more about drywall
installation and repair, tile and wood/
laminate flooring and the opportunity to
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2018

Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
TRENDS
C2W
Retail People
A Taste for Success
Want It, Need It, Gotta Have It
SUPPLY CHAIN
TECHNOLOGY
FINANCE
Q&A
MERCHANDISING
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Lowe’s expands training program to help communities in need.
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Bloomin’ Brands uses data to save money and improve the customer experience.
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Grove Collaborative reduces delivery times and improves customer satisfaction.
STARTUP SPOTLIGHT IceCream Labs uses machine learning and visual intelligence to drive ecommerce.
THEFT
SECURITY
POV
Communities
End Cap
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Intro
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover1
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover2
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 3
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 4
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 5
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Editor’s Page
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - President’s Page
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Retail Politics
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - NRF News
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - TRENDS
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 11
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 12
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 13
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 14
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - C2W
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Retail People
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 17
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - A Taste for Success
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 19
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 20
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 21
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Want It, Need It, Gotta Have It
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 23
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 24
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 25
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - SUPPLY CHAIN
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 27
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 28
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - TECHNOLOGY
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 30
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - FINANCE
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 32
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Q&A
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - MERCHANDISING
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 35
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Lowe’s expands training program to help communities in need.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 37
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Bloomin’ Brands uses data to save money and improve the customer experience.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 39
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Grove Collaborative reduces delivery times and improves customer satisfaction.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 41
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - STARTUP SPOTLIGHT IceCream Labs uses machine learning and visual intelligence to drive ecommerce.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - THEFT
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 44
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 45
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - SECURITY
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 47
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - POV
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Communities
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - End Cap
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover3
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover4
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