During the worst economy since the Great Depression, during the worst Spokane winter in decades, the roof fell in Dec. 29 at the Rosauers at Five Mile.
The practical thing to do, from a financial standpoint, would have been to lay off that store’s 120 employees during the four-month roof repair project. After all, companies throughout the Inland Northwest were shedding employees every day.
But Jeff Philipps, president and CEO of Rosauers Supermarkets, along with his management team, decided not to do the practical thing, but to do the right thing for the well-being of their employees. They relocated some of the employees to other stores and paid 90 percent of salaries, plus health benefits, for all 120 employees.
Philipps, 54, is serving as this year’s “Pacesetter” chair for the Spokane County United Way fund campaign, asking businesses to ask their employees to give early to the campaign – and increase their donations over last year.
One recent Friday, Philipps took a break from his busy schedule to reflect on how his childhood helped him make the job-saving decision. And how Rosauers employees are now “paying it forward” through extreme generosity to United Way.
Philipps was the fifth interview in the “Wise Words for Troubled Times” series. Here’s the complete transcript of the interview.
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