Question and answer section
Our Annual Earth Day Inventory
This year marks our 12th anniversary tracking our “quadruple bottom line” at Cole Hardware. While many companies report on a triple bottom line, we created our own quadruple bottom line based on these areas of importance to us:
- Environmental advocacy
- Social advocacy
- Workplace advocacy
- And to operate a profitable business, too!
In the past year, we focused on adding several new crew member benefits as well as having our new SoMa and North Beach stores certified as green businesses with San Francisco’s Department of the Environment.
Environmental advocacy: We are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint.
- We stock and promote environmentally friendly products.
- We emphasize consumer awareness of environmental issues.
- We comply with all standards set forth by San Francisco’s Department of the Environment Green Business Program.
- We recycle for our customers: rechargeable and household batteries, old paint, spent fluorescent bulbs, cell phones, expired printer cartridges, small propane cylinders, Brita water filters, spent holiday light strands, and mercury thermostats.
- We publicize events concerning conservation and environmental issues for our various Community Partners.
- We participate in environmental fairs throughout the area.
- We offer commuter benefits to encourage our crew members to use public transportation or pedal to work.
- We guest lecture to business classes at San Francisco State University and the Family Business Program at the University of San Francisco.
- We offer digital versions of the Hardware Hotline and Hardware Hot Deals for readers who prefer an e-version.
- Our staff is continually trained by Suzanne Bontempo of Our Water, Our World on earth friendly gardening practices to keep harmful chemicals from seeping into our waterways. You’ll find Suzanne presenting information at many of our store festivities, too!
- We offer our Rent-A-Tote program so that movers can rent reusable totes instead of buying boxes.
- We label our plants that are Bee Safe—free of neonicotinoids, which are harmful to our suffering bee friends.
- Solar panels installed on the roof at our Polk Street location provide a portion of our electricity for that store.
- UPDATED: Each year Cole Hardware stores collect large quantities of hazardous waste through our partnership with the San Francisco Department of the Environment, keeping these items from landfills:
– 1,500+ gallon buckets of household batteries
– 10,000+ gallons of latex paint
– 1,500+ spent propane cylinders
– 7,000+ fluorescent tube lights
– 10,000 CFLs
- NEW: We have converted our legacy stores from fluorescent to more-efficient LED lighting wherever possible.
- NEW: Our new SoMa and North Beach locations are certified as Green Businesses with San Francisco’s Department of the Environment. Our Rockridge location is in the process of certification with Alameda County’s Green Business Program.
Social advocacy: We are committed to social responsibility and community involvement.
- We have more than 800 schools and community groups in our Community Partners Assistance Program, which celebrates its 24th anniversary this year.
- We donate our Cutting Edge wine and Clearly Cole Hardware bottled water to our Community Partners to serve at their fundraising events.
- We partner with local schools and nonprofit community groups and donated tens of thousands of dollars in gift cards to be used at their fundraising events, silent auctions, and raffles.
- We publish community event notices.
- We provide an everyday 10% discount to senior citizens, students, and disabled persons.
- We provide chauffeur service for senior citizens to help them get to our stores and home again.
- We actively promote home safety and emergency preparedness.
- We are founding members of the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchant Alliance (SFLOMA), and we continually advocate for the efficacy of San Francisco’s neighborhood shopping areas.
- We support local vendors of products such as Green Toys™, Nomadic Ground Coffee, and other members of SFMade by offering their products in our stores.
- We support neighborhood organizations working on behalf of quality-of-life issues in our communities.
- We participate in community events and fairs, including these events in 2017:
– Cole Valley Fair
– Polk Street Pumpkin Festival
– Rockridge Out & About
– Small Business Saturday Merchant Stroll
- We offer Community Savings Days each month when seniors, students, teachers and school district employees, active members of the military or veterans, and first responders receive a 20% discount.
- We host State Department delegations of business leaders from around the world wanting to learn more about various aspects of a small business.
- We sponsored a toy drive for the ninth year for Arriba Juntos’s La Posada.
- We collected over $8,000 and toys for W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s displaced family program for the seventh year.
- Our Coins for the Community program, benefitting a different Community Partner each month, has collected more than $125,000 at our register collection jars to date, thanks to your generosity.
- We host donation drives for women’s professional clothing for Dress for Success and both food drives and warm coat drives for St. Vincent de Paul’s Vincentian Help Desk program and Groceries for Seniors.
- We collect underwear and men’s suits for our friends at the St. Anthony Foundation.
- NEW: We are sponsored a free admission day on April 3 at the Conservatory of Flowers for all Bay Area residents, their friends and family, and tourists.
Workplace advocacy: We support employee development and celebrate diversity in our workforce.
- We offer health, dental, life, and supplemental insurance programs.
- Benefits are offered for domestic partners.
- We offer a 401(k) pension and profit sharing program with dollar-for-dollar matches and annual profit-sharing bonuses.
- Our pretax (cafeteria) plan allows employees to contribute a portion of their salary to a flexible benefits plan for a variety of benefits, including health insurance, medical expenses, dependent day care, and commuter expenses.
- To further encourage great customer service, our employees get bonuses when they receive customer compliments.
- We celebrate success and good news: birthdays, new babies, and accomplished goals are greeted with cakes and treats in our lunchrooms.
- We offer commuter benefits to our crew members who utilize public transportation.
- We offer a bicycle commuter benefit to our crew members who pedal to work.
- Our policy is to promote from within.
- No crew member pays more that 5% of his or her salary for health insurance.
- NEW: Our smoking cessation program has graduated five crew members who kicked the habit!
- NEW: We increased our commuter benefit.
- NEW: We added a fitness and wellness benefit, reimbursing crew members half of their gym, yoga, or dance class membership fees.
- NEW: Part-time crew members now earn paid vacation time.
- NEW: We implemented a “High Five” program, which encourages crew members to acknowledge extraordinary actions by colleagues.
Measure of success:
- 8½ is the average number of years worked at Cole Hardware (by staff employed 2 years or longer).
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