900. Remember this number.
My columns over the last several months have described the incredible things Tucson businesses are doing to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Companies are being innovative, adjusting their models to recover lost revenue and remain open.
One specific aspect of the pandemic’s impact that is felt everywhere is the loss of jobs. At its peak, national unemployment was nearly 15%; a number not seen since the Great Depression. That peak has ebbed in the last two months, with unemployment now hovering around 10%. An improvement, but still devastatingly high in terms of its impact on families and the economy.
I mentioned 900. That is the number of employees at Click Auto Group, spread over 10 locations throughout the Tucson area. In the midst of business closings and job losses, not one of Click Auto Group’s employees was laid off. Also, the Click Auto Group did not take a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the government.
I met with Click Auto Group’s leadership team — Chief Operating Officer Sam Khayat, Chief Financial Officer Jill Oliver and Daryl Koeppel, director of parts and service — to find out how they did this, to better understand what they did, and how they accomplished zero layoffs in such difficult circumstances.
The first thing they told me is that “we’re all in this together.” Everyone is part of the family. They asked themselves “What is the right thing to do?” The answer was to keep jobs; to keep the family together.