In 2011, as part of our commitment to the communities where we do business, we introduced a new store model in the neighborhoods of Harlem, New York, and Crenshaw, Los Angeles.
Designed to reflect and embrace the individual culture, character and needs of each of these neighborhoods, the stores would work with organizations that have a proven record of creating progress for disadvantaged communities. Beyond contributing financially, we would also share our business expertise to help them fulfill their mission, provide strategic technical and management assistance, join together on community service projects and work with the organizations to support their jobs training and placement work. It was an experiment – a new way of thinking about how our stores could work directly with local nonprofits to effect positive change.
The pilot was a success. We began expanding the program into other cities, opening stores across the country, including Ferguson, Mo., Chicago, Baltimore, and Brooklyn, New York.