Thursday March 31, 2016
For over 35 years, Midas has been part of the South Burlington community. Just off the bustling Williston Road corridor, one might think this business kept busy over the decades with only automotive concerns. But after Peter Ferdinand took over the reins in 2003, this repair shop began taking care of more than auto repairs, brakes and oil changes and took on a mission they call Midas Cares. An ongoing campaign by both the business and its employees, Midas Cares is not just a nice-sounding slogan to grab attention. It is the dedication, effort, and commitment to service that goes beyond their daily enterprise in order to make a difference in their community.
Ferdinand says that he was always looking for ways his business could give back, but it was in 2005 when what started out as an informal gesture to help a young mother in need, the concept of Midas Cares took form.
“I had read an article about a young mother who had just gotten out of a rehabilitation center and was trying to put her life back together. The article stated her car was not running and needed tires,” recalls Ferdinand. He then figured out how to contact the woman, picked up the car, and repaired it free of charge. Thus began over a decade’s worth of giving back; of using the Midas touch to help others.
Ferdinand and then General Manager Les Allen discussed other ways they could contribute to the community. Since they knew about another Midas dealer who was donating an oil change for every pint of blood donated to the American Red Cross, they were inspired to host their own blood drive, an event they now host twice a year.
According to American Red Cross Account Executive Craig Ryan, “Midas has helped us collect 203 units of blood, which have been used to help save the lives of approximately 609 recipients in need.” He continues, “These drives are successful due to an enthusiastic team at Midas and donor turnout reflects this. Peter is extremely generous in offering and has also helped in this area with other local drives outside of Midas.”
“We know how important it is to keep a fresh supply of blood flowing into the community. Our bi-annual event fits into the ebb and flow of our business cycle, since it does require extra staff and time to set up,” says Ferdinand. The business gives a free oil change certificate to anyone who donates blood at one of their drives. According to Ferdinand, it can be used at a future date or “if we have an opening we can have it done while you give blood.” However, he credits his customers most of all for the success of the blood drives, saying, “The response is always overwhelmingly positive.”
Although he has retired from Midas to tend to a medical condition, Allen was one of many Midas employees who was instrumental in making the blood donation drives happen, as well as other charitable efforts. Ferdinand describes Allen as a longtime friend and employee; he also says Allen is generous and community minded, a way of being that is vital to the Midas Cares mission. He adds, “Recent hires have been made to help embrace the Midas Cares concept including new General Manager Ed Couture and Business Development Manager, Briant Hamrell. Both Couture and Hamrell are part of the decision-making and managing of the ongoing calendar of philanthropic events.
Blood drives are an important aspect of the Midas Cares campaign, but there are many other initiatives in action happening on 60 Midas Drive, including helping to eradicate hunger. Last summer, Ferdinand says his business donated one dollar for every oil change in June, July, and August. He reports, “We filled three walls with the names of our generous customers that donated both food and cash to the promotion!” The result? 748 pounds of food donated to The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf along with a cash contribution of over $300. Ferdinand was especially interested in holding this food drive during the summer “when families might have a difficult time feeding kids without the help of school breakfast and lunch programs.”
In addition, Midas Cares has participated in their company’s nationwide Drive Out Hunger campaign since it was launched in 2014. The organization describes the program as “a long-term platform demonstrating Midas’ commitment to hunger relief.”
Ferdinand says, “We think the Drive Out Hunger campaign is a great way to support the community in a different way than what we had been doing.” These initiatives include promoting the food drive through advertising and in-house promotions. They have a donation box in their waiting room year round and credit $5 for every non-perishable food item donated throughout the year, capped at $50. “This could be a can of soup, a can of beans, or a box of noodles - it’s all good. We started promoting the Drive out Hunger campaign last summer and plan to continue it for as long as people are hungry,” added Ferdinand.
Not stopping there, Midas Cares donates to an extensive list of organizations and causes that include Toys for Tots, Make A Wish Foundation, Relay for Life, Rebels for Lives, Salvation Army, and Chittenden County Starting Points to name a few. They also are a keen supporter of the local community schools.
Ferdinand defines Midas Cares as an ever-evolving effort to give back to the community. Currently, they are preparing for the first of their two blood drives in 2016, scheduled for May 14. Refreshments and treats will be on hand, as well as a free oil and filter change for all who donate. But before that, in April, Midas Cares will donate $10 for every oil change to help Les Allen(see sidebar). Additionally, the team is developing a plan to raise money for the local humane society. Ferdinand says Hamrell’s addition to the team speaks directly to the evolving effort, “To expand our reach into the community and come up with more great ideas.” He welcomes people to contact them in regards to other charitable opportunities.
As his loyal customer base continues to grow, Ferdinand expresses appreciation and gratitude for his customers’ patronage. He cites their Midas Cares campaign, which holds community partnership and altruism as vital components of business, one of the key reasons for their success. As Ryan from the American Red Cross puts it, “When you hear about the Midas Cares initiative, it is real and making a big difference in our community.”