Loblaw, the parent company of three of our local franchise businesses, namely Phil's and Hendrik's Valu-mart plus Shoppers Drug Mart, ignored repeated requests to contribute to the $25,000 construction shortfall for our newly constructed and recently opened Niagara Nursery School, beside the NOTL Community Centre.
Immediately following publication of the article “Niagara Nursery School partners with NOTL Valu-marts for donation drive” in the Aug. 12, edition of The Lake Report, whereby the operators of both these businesses encouraged shoppers, at the checkout counter, to contribute $2 each toward the aforementioned budget shortfall, I contacted the corporate offices of Loblaw Companies Ltd. requesting a contribution out of their enormous and generous marketing or other discretionary spending budgets.
Accordingly they responded to this request by opening a “case number” and stating that “A representative will contact you soon.” They never did.
Subsequent followup efforts on my part, four in all, failed to elicit any response. My correspondence fell on deaf ears. (And I later confirmed that the school never received any corporate donations from Loblaw.)
In spite of my pleadings for a simple yes or no (or any answer) and a final communication advising them I would be writing a letter to your newspaper, Loblaw elected to remain silent.
In retrospect I should not be surprised by this corporation's lack of action. Owned by the Weston family and a consequence of a 14-year bread price-fixing scandal exposed in March 2015, Loblaw was often referred to as being morally bankrupt and ethically challenged.
In this instance, the company ignored the donation request and displayed a total lack of respect for our community.
Shame on them. Our community deserved better.
It is often said that visionary corporate leaders practise good corporate governance and ethics. They recognize community investment is a means to attracting the workforce of tomorrow and thereby take their commitment to community to the next level. While the Valu-marts in town did their part, it seems community goodwill is not on Loblaw's radar. More like an attitude of “Too big to fail.”
Obviously the corporation learned nothing from the bread scandal, where they offered customers a $25 voucher after picking their pockets for 14 years. Indeed, they should learn from and follow the lead of their Niagara-on-the-Lake franchise owners, who are all upstanding citizens in our community .
Alas, it seems others like the Westons, only donate when their names are attached to a hospital wing, university, arts centre etc., whereby they buy name recognition and a legacy with their names up in lights or promInently displayed on a wall plaque.
The needs of the Niagara Nursery School did not cut it.