When Revolux, the automotive industry’s largest provider of dealership LED lighting solutions, recently visited Premier Automotive’s Toyota of New Orleans, it wasn’t to discuss how to light the showroom or service bays, but rather to help those in need see their way to their next hot meal.
Besides serving as Premier Automotive Group’s inaugural store, Toyota of New Orleans is home to the Food Pantry of New Orleans where thousands of low-income residents come for groceries and hot meals every year.
When the LED solutions team from Revolux visited the store at 13150 I-10 Service Road and learned of the food pantry and on-site hot meal distribution center, it didn’t take them long to determine how they could help the cause.
Revolux has donated and will install interior and exterior LED lighting at the food pantry’s 10,000-square-foot warehouse, a former parts center behind Premier’s corporate headquarters, and at its 2,000-square-foot hot meal distribution center on the Toyota of New Orleans property.
“We’ve performed LED upgrades at just under 400 dealerships and visited hundreds more across the country and have never seen a more generous operation,” says Tom Grieco, CEO of Revolux. “We’re delighted to donate this design and technologies that certainly will create a more functional space for individuals in need as well as the pantry’s volunteers.”
The Revolux-designed LED lighting package is valued at just under $40,000. Besides its brighter, more uniform look, the LED lighting is designed to lower the pantry’s electricity costs by more than 50 percent. Plus, the LED lighting operates 4-10 times longer than less efficient lighting, thereby cutting maintenance costs significantly, Grieco explains.
Opened in October 2013, the pantry now distributes groceries to 1,800-2,000 families per month. In 2016, the pantry will distribute two million pounds of groceries, according to Ben Comer, executive director of Giving Hope Foundation, the non-profit organization that oversees the Food Pantry of New Orleans. Its hot meal distribution center serves 750-800 hot meals per day, including 550 delivered to low-income, homebound seniors. In just over two years, the facility has served more than 250,000 hot meals to New Orleans residents in need.
While the Food Pantry of New Orleans has been a shining example of Premier Automotive’s community outreach, it’s just part of the company’s larger philanthropic efforts, explains Troy Duhon, owner of Premier Automotive Group. Along with his wife Tracy, the Duhons established the Giving Hope Foundation to serve as an umbrella organization for Premier Automotive’s nationwide community outreach.
Duhon established Profit for a Purpose, an integral part of the company’s business culture, which contributes $25 to a non-profit cause for every new car sold at a Premier Automotive dealership. Plus, every Premier Automotive employee is given an extra day of vacation every year to serve a non-profit cause of their choice.
“My dad used to say, ‘God isn’t counting how many cars you sell, but he’s counting every time you feed one of his people,'” says Duhon. “We try to live up to those words every day.” Grieco adds, “We’ve completed many lighting transformations, but this by far is the most meaningful.”