Since 1934, Sands Chevrolet has been serving the Valley of the Sun. The company started as a small fuel station and Chevrolet dealership during World War II. Having been overlooked as a potential partner to build tanks for the war, the company was savvy enough to change course and stayed in business by selling bicycles and trailers. Since its early days, this organization has showcased its ability to pivot in the face of enormous change while helping those it serves.
And throughout the years, under the leadership of owners “Buzz” Sands and Jerry Moore, Sands Chevrolet has made it a priority to take care of the community that has been loyal to it for decades. Each year, Sands Chevrolet supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. Its annual donation of a car for nonprofit’s silent auction along with vacation packages to Newport Beach continually raises funds for the kids in the communities Sands Chevrolet serves — in many cases helping to raise upwards of $3 million each year for this cause.
Supporting education has also been a priority for Sands Chevrolet. The business awards scholarships for students at Glendale High School, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University’s West Campus. Buzz Sands, a graduate of Glendale High School, has made it a priority to focus support on the West Valley community. Donating a new $49,000 score board to GHS and planning for a $500,000 endowment to Glendale High School to ensure future support of GHS programs, Sands Chevrolet has had a vigilant commitment to aid the community, particularly Glendale.
As COVID-19 began to spread and became of primary concern to the world, Sands’ leaders knew they needed to explore ways they could help prevent the spread of this jarring virus. So, as a free public service to anyone in the Greater Phoenix area, they stepped up in a unique way by offering complimentary car sanitizing services.
A Sands employee will pick up the vehicle and take it back to the dealership, where Sands will steam sanitize the interior with a commercial, high-pressure steamer at 212-250 degrees. This process reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 while it simultaneously loosens and removes some stains. The dealership recognized that it had an obligation to not only aid the public but to also keep its 26 front-line employees and administrative staff working.
“When the pandemic hit, we saw the writing on the wall. We knew that unless we did something different, a lot of people would lose their jobs, not to mention the hit the business would take. Our service director came up with the idea of steam sanitizing cars for free and offering that service to help stop the spread. We thought it was the right thing to do for the community. It kept us open. It kept people working. It made us all very proud, and we’ve created nearly 1,000 new friends who, hopefully, will become customers in the future,” share Sands and Moore.
In recent weeks, the initiative has become a focus of healthcare workers. Sands has formed relationships with Arizona’s major health systems: Banner, Abrazo, HonorHealth, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Dignity and others. And the dealership is now going directly to the hospitals, picking up healthcare workers’ vehicles and taking them back to Sands where they are treated, and then returning them before the workers get off shift — all as a free public service.
These good works are also a cornerstone for the larger Chevrolet brand. The Chevy Cares program is focused on caring for communities, particularly those affected by disaster. The company offers disaster relief assistance to those affected, because its leadership understands that a person’s vehicle can be his or her livelihood. And throughout this epidemic Chevy has been focused on cleaning with care. The company has made cleanliness of the utmost importance, and through its Chevy Clean program it is using enhanced vehicle cleaning measures with the CDC-approved cleansers.
Sands has taken this company-wide commitment to aid the community very seriously and has had a tremendous response from the public regarding this service.
Tyler Butler (“Tyler Butler | Giving in Style”), founder and CEO of 11Eleven Consulting, is a corporate social responsibility practitioner and expert leader in the corporate citizenship space. She has served on numerous national and local boards and is often cited as a subject matter expert by Forbes, Entrepreneur, U.S. News & World Report and more.