Ed Snyder’s retail roots run deep. His grandfather founded a department store in downtown Norfolk, VA, in 1894. Seventy years later, the family established its first car dealership. Today, their operation has grown to eight outlets, including Checkered Flag Toyota-one of Virginia’s first Toyota franchises.
Through it all, they’ve not only enjoyed financial success but also have shared their bounty with the community that made it possible.
“I was raised on the belief that a business has a civic responsibility,” says Snyder, group chairman and founder of the Checkered Flag Auto Group. “We support many causes. But our No. 1 charity, for many years, has been the United Way. They promote such a wide range of organizations that it’s easy for our employees to find a group they can believe in. And most of the donations stay in our community. It’s the right thing to do.”
Tim Rayfield, general manager of Checkered Flag Toyota, certainly agrees. Earlier this year, the United Way of South Hampton Roads presented the Virginia Beach dealership with its “Heart of South Hampton Roads” award for not only its monetary contributions but also its employees’ time in support of Reading Enriches All Children (REACH). The United Way charity promotes the well-being of children in homeless shelters by supplying them with books and training volunteers to read with them.
Checkered Flag Toyota’s relationship with REACH is multifaceted. In July, it donated $5,000 to help underwrite the organization’s Survivor Challenge, a fundraiser matching corporate teams in events inspired by the long-running reality television show. In May, dealership employees raised an additional $1,800 while serving beverages during Norfolk Harborfest. And throughout the school year, employees collect books and invest time at the shelters, reading to and crafting with the children.
“We reviewed a list of 10 United Way charities and this was the one that everyone really rallied around,” says Rayfield.
To further encourage participation, all Checkered Flag employees who donate $5 per pay period to a United Way charity receive a paid half day off each year. Increase the donation to $10 every two weeks and the perk is a paid full day off.
“We’ve had employees who’ve never given to a charity before and, now, they really enjoy it,” says Snyder. “It’s personally very rewarding when that happens.”
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If any of our Checkered Flag Toyota fans have been looking for a simple way to give back, our Virginia Beach Toyota store is now accepting unwrapped toys as the Virginia Beach Toys for Tots drop-off site.
Call (757)490-1111 for directions or more information.