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The Future is Local

In the future, when we look back on 2020 we will remember many things. No question there has been much uncertainty and pain for many people, but there have been positive things that have come out of this period that are life changing, and we would do well to remember them and keep them close.

When the pandemic hit us in March I recall saying at the time, “this feels like a reset for the world”. I guess I thought that way because it seemed that everything had been spinning pretty fast and just a bit out of control up to that time, and it felt like we were being sent a message of sorts. Almost like “ok, you have had things pretty good for a long time, so it’s time for a bit of a wake-up call”.

My takeaway from all this is that it’s important to slow down, think differently about ways to work and live and determine what is essential. Look for the good things that can come out of this radical change in our lives and learn from all the sad and bad things. Pay greater attention to the part of the world that is in your backyard and think about ways to support your community.

This time has allowed us to connect in ways we never even thought of. Yes, we stayed home and self-isolated, but we found a way to connect with our loved ones, friends and colleagues by other means. In dealing with this crisis, business teams came together and found ways to lead their organizations through a sea of uncertainty. Families stayed together, played together, cooked together, and talked and listened to each other. We did not travel for business or leisure. We could not go to the gym or get a haircut, but that was all ok.

We walked our neighbourhoods in 100 different directions and really saw where we live. We said hi to strangers walking in the street and asked how they were doing, from a safe distance of course. We ordered food from our local restaurants, and we shopped at our local grocer. We did not spend time being frustrated in traffic or dealing with the hassle of airports.

The list goes on, but what is clear to me is that there are a number of things I need to keep doing that enrich my life, and a whole lot of things I can stop doing that I will never miss.

Our vision for Cooper is that of a large company that thinks and acts like a local business. We take pride that our managers have the autonomy to make decisions about how to run their branches in a way that makes the most sense for their local market. As a company we recognize regional differences and we encourage everyone in our organization to do what is best for our people and our customers. And we recognize that the small things matter a lot.

I was out picking up a few things on the weekend at a local store, and the owner greeted me with a big smile and a “Welcome Back!”. He saw me looking for something and asked me if he could help me find it. He then went further and said, “And if you do not see what you are looking for please let me know. It will be here the next time you come in.” I felt important and I know I will go back to this store for that item next weekend and from now on.

It is these little things that matter, and they are what make a business “local”.

Be safe. Stay Healthy. Take care of each other.

Doug

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