The international pharmaceutical corporation, Merck and Company, has always stressed that it was not just another drug company looking at making a profit. It has always impressed upon its workforce that service to humanity is the best work of life. About three decades ago, in the 1980’s, Merck and Company developed a drug that could cure river blindness, a disease that infects and causes blindness in millions of people, particularly those in developing companies with diminished infrastructure.
While it was a great product, the targeted consumer was perhaps the least able to afford the drug. The customer simply could not afford to by it. So what did the pharmaceutical company do? It developed and manufactured the drug anyway and in 1987 announced that it would give the medicine free to anyone who needed it. By the following year, the company had given away more than 250 million tablets.
George W. Merck said, “We try never to forget that medicine is for people. It is not for profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear.”
This past month the Chamber heard an outstanding presentation from Jim Stella, a retail development specialist from ElectriCities. Recently the utility company studied demographics and buying trends from the North Mecklenburg Communities of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville.
A particular focus was what market segments do we have an over-supply, what segments could be targeted for retail growth, and what is the leakage to other communities.
The big take away from the session was how much we as a community and region support our fellow businesses. The data strongly supported families who lived in Cornelius shopped in Huntersville and residents in Davidson bought goods and supplies in Mooresville as well as their own town.
As a Chamber of Commerce, the message of “Buy Local” is extremely important. Those dollars we spend in a local retail store or restaurant are turned several times in our community putting people to work and growing the local business community.
While no doubt the reason folks shop at stores and businesses in the lake is because of the deals they find and the service they receive. But a big part of it is also the relationships we enjoy here. We’re all one big family.
We also have some of the most compassionate and generous businesses owners, managers, and employees you would ever meet. Our local charities: Ada Jenkins, United Way, Big Day at the Lake, Habitat for Humanity, Angels and Sparrows and many countless others are testaments to the fact that local businesses at the lake are not just focused on being great businesses, they are part of being part of something bigger than their own business.
This holiday season, when you look at buying that gift for someone special – shop the lake and the many businesses that make our region so special. When you see that volunteer asking for a contribution to help someone in need – consider giving just a little bit more.
Do something good in business – profits will follow. Do something good for someone else – you change a life. Quite possibly – your own!