When Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot walked the aisles of his local grocery store, he was alarmed to see so many empty shelves. Since COVID-19 began its crawl across the country, retailers have been in short supply of essentials like meat, bread, milk and more. Understanding that his employees were facing similar situations on emergency supplies, Frank developed an idea to fix the problem.
Collaborating with the Chef
Testing a theory, Frank consulted with Melaleuca’s Leaf & Drop executive chef, Tyler Nielson, to explore making a bulk order for interested employees from the restaurant’s food supplier. Chef Tyler quickly connected with the vendor and confirmed it could fulfill a large quantity for employees. Immediately after, Frank sent an email to local employees inviting them to place their orders for delivery in two days.
“I went shopping at the store this morning and the store was all out of eggs, milk, bread and almost out of bacon,” Frank wrote in the email. “So we have secured a supply of those items for our employees … If any employee wants eggs, bread, bacon, or milk we believe we can get it for you.”
Hundreds of employees responded to Frank’s invitation and submitted their orders. When the truck arrived, a handful of employees sorted the food for efficient distribution to roughly 400 employees who picked up their orders throughout the day.
Just a few days later, Frank emailed Idaho employees with the news that Melaleuca had procured a large amount of produce for employees.
“We have secured a supply of produce,” Frank wrote. “We would like to make sure that it is put to good use and will make that available to employees for free. Thank you for all you do to keep yourselves and your families healthy!”
Frank followed this up a few days later announcing a third delivery of groceries for employees to pick up for free.
As employees filled their grocery bags and boxes, many said it was remarkable to see these two ideas come together so fast.
“Not only has this made my life a little easier,” said Ben Watson, a new Melaleuca employee, “but it shows Melaleuca has a CEO who cares enough about his team to make these kinds of things happen.”