At a time when many companies are contemplating layoffs due to the impact of the coronavirus on the economy, Duxbury-based VERC Enterprises is taking a very different approach.
VERC Enterprises (http://vercenterprises.com), a leading convenience store and Mobil/Gulf/Irving/Shell gasoline operator with more than 30 locations throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, is helping its nearly 400 employees weather the uncertainty of the economic havoc caused by the coronavirus outbreak with a combination of bonuses and pay increases.
On March 16, the company presented all full-time employees with bonus checks of $500, and its part-time employees each received $200.
Then, on Monday, March 23, the company increased the pay of each of its store employees by $2 per hour, while increasing the salaries of each store manager by $100 per week.
“Our employees, or associates as they are known within our organization, are our most valued asset,” says Leo Vercollone, chief executive officer of VERC Enterprises. “This is a time when we want to show them how much we appreciate everything they do.”
Vercollone said that his locations are all open. “Our traffic is steady, but it has slowed down a little more each day. We’re in an industry that is definitely in demand. Gas stations and the convenience stores are vital services at this time, especially with so many businesses closed. Customers depend on us, and we will be here to serve their needs.”
VERC Enterprises has been recognized by a number of organizations for its forward-thinking practices in the workplace, having won multiple “Employer of the Year” awards from various organizations.
The company helps its associates in other ways also, including no-interest loans to associates in need. It’s a practice that the company has had in place for more than ten years, and he said he has seen an uptick in requests recently.
Vercollone said that some of the company’s support staff has been working from home during this time. “But our front line associates cannot do that. They are there in the stores, so we are doing what we can to reward, support, and thank them.”
Within the individual VERC locations, there have been “six foot” designations so that customers will know the distance to stay apart from each other. “We tell our associates that if any of them feel uncomfortable working in the stores during this time, we will do what we can to support them. We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable in the workplace.”
He said that the company follows a rigorous protocol of cleaning, both overnight and during the day.
VERC Enterprises is also accelerating its landscaping efforts and getting a jump on the spring season. “We want to be ready for when everything is back to normal,” Vercollone said. “However for us it’s business as usual right now. We thank our customers for their ongoing support, and our team of associates for delivering each day on our behalf.”