Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) The National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 has decided to lift restrictions on various business sectors, including tourism, restaurants, transport including air and rail travel and a few others. This shift in policy has come about in light of the declining number of COVID-19 cases in the country. One of the hardest hit communities during the long periods of lockdown were the small shopkeepers. As the economy readies itself for reopening, Coca-Cola’s Open Like Never Before (OLNB) program is ramping up to support small retailers open up with pride and with the right SOPs in place.
By the end of this week, thousands of small neighborhood shops in 11 cities across the country would have benefited from this program. Small businesses do not have financial muscle to sustain lull periods and can quickly go into losses, increasing the risk of closure or debt burdens. The OLNB program supplied free of cost product up to a certain value to these small shops that generated the cash flow they may have needed to keep their businesses afloat. Furthermore, all these stores were supplied with large format posters, illustrating mandated safety precautions to be taken in store to reduce disease transmission and reassure the shoppers. A third leg of the campaign promoted this message on television and social media to invite consumers to rally and sustain their neighborhood stores, commonly referred to as ‘konay wali dukan’. This ensured that people came together to inspire trust and solidarity to support their beloved ‘konay wali dukans and small eateries’
Speaking about this innovative program, Fahad Ashraf, GM Coca-Cola Pakistan stated, “Our OLNB campaign is a great example of how companies can adapt their CSR through fairly simple but high impact actions, to support those most at risk in our value-chain. The health and economic impact of COVID-19 is truly humbling, and even the smallest acts of kindness can create a big impact in people’s lives. We are trying to do as much as we can to support the communities and the government is their pursuit of managing health risks and getting the economy back on track.”
The beneficiaries of the OLNB program include corner-stores, food service outlets and even street vendors. The program is inspired by Coca-Cola’s Global Purpose: To Refresh the World and Make a Difference.