There’s just a day or two left in 2017, and Miller Auto & Marine is like a lot of other central Minnesota companies preparing for the New Year. It’s both the perfect time to reflect on the year that’s about to turn the page, as well as look toward the future in terms of what we hope to accomplish and serve. Sure, I know the “numbers” that accompany end-of-year tallies, from inventory sold to talent hired to revenue earned. But none of that truly matters as much as the impact Miller Auto & Marine has in this community. I’m going to share some of our year’s best highlights – none of which have anything to do with the bottom line … just the bottom of our hearts.
What a Community Business Means
Between Chance and myself, we’ve covered a few things we’ve done or supported in the past in terms of community support in this blog, including the seatbelt cover drive for the Coborn Cancer Center and the annual Women of Influence Summit event. For as long as either of us has been part of the Miller Auto & Marine team, giving and support has been an integral part of our roles. It’s traced back over 80 years – for as long as this company has been part of this area. Tom Miller has always been pro-community, something he likely adopted from his family and his dad, John Miller, before him. It’s just part of this brand, and it embodies who we are as a team.
The Miller philosophy has been this is not only where we work, but it’s where we live. This community is where our customers live. The schools and the younger generation will be the next phase of leaders and consumers and developers of change. Fostering a healthy sense of belonging and support is integral to Central Minnesota’s foundation, one built on hard work and a mission of philanthropy.
Involvement as the Status Quo, Not the Exception to the Norm
2017 isn’t a special or different year in terms of what Miller Auto & Marine has done in the community; we take great privilege in supporting causes year after year while expanding our reach to new events or causes. We have some of our involvement listed on our website under Community Involvement:
- Women of Influence Summit
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota
- Coborn Cancer Center
- NitroX Automotive Camp for Kids
- Sartell High School Senior Lock-In
- Toys for Tots
- St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce
- American Red Cross Blood Drives
- Customer Appreciation Days
We find the partnerships and collaboration we have with organizations like those so fulfilling. Combined, Miller Auto & Marine donates time, resources, or financial support to over 150 different non-profits, schools, and local individuals in need. Our giving isn’t a one-size-fits-all model, and we try to engage our own customers and team members where it makes sense. Involvement helps drive certain events, like the Toys for Tots drive, or seatbelt cover program through the Coborn Cancer Center. The more people we can involve in programs like that, the better the outcome will be. It helps people connect to our community and feel like they’re a part of the cause and mission, which is our ultimate goal.
Personal Experiences Drive Passion
As people, we’re no strangers to the sometimes dark and overwhelming stories we hear and experience in the world. Life isn’t always perfect, and there are a lot of areas that could stand to be bolstered. The team at Miller Auto & Marine all have their own stories and experience with sadness, struggles, and uncertainty. I firmly believe that fact helps our company make even more of an impact in our community. One of our core values is empathy; this extends far beyond feeling what our customers are feeling when they’re on our lot or in our showroom as consumers. It’s about understanding what the people in our community face and how we can come together to offer support.
One Friday a month we host what we call Friday Fundraisers. We prepare to feed lunch to an army and invite customers, employees, and other community members to join us. Each meal is $5, and all proceeds go to a specific cause or event. In 2017, we chose an organization near and dear to us – the ALS Association, as the disease personally affects one of our team members. It can be difficult or confusing to support someone experiencing a crisis, and not knowing when or how to do something is a real feeling. This is a simple way to help show support, and there’s never such a thing as too little of an impact.
I'm proud to be part of the Miller Auto & Marine team for a handful of reasons, but I can't help but feel this warmth when I think of how we've supported Central Minnesota in 2017 through efforts from our team, customers, families, and community. I know we'll continue to devote time and intention in the New Year to make an even bigger impact.
Thank YOU for helping us - and Happy New Year.