Even though TUS is considered a small business, we think large in terms of corporate environmental and social responsibility. At TUS, we demonstrate environmental responsibility through two primary initiatives.
We have partnered with the local city government to implement a recycling program. We recycle all plastic products and have them collected on a weekly basis. We also recycle many cardboard boxes we receive with inventory shipments. It is only natural for us to break down these boxes and recycle them weekly as well. Finally, our plastic shopping bags we provide at in-store checkout are made from recycled plastic. We feel it is important to do our part to reduce landfill waste and to help re-purpose these waste products so they can be re-used to make new recycled products.
We have also implemented an energy efficiency program by replacing all overhead fluorescent bulbs with Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. All lighting at TUS has now been converted to LED lighting, including our specialty lighting such as spotlight displays. We also set an efficient program for our store thermostats and we actively use the power saving features on our computer and information technology equipment.
Our corporate social responsibility program has two primary thrusts: corporate charitable giving and the social cause Free The Girls.
As a small local business, our charitable giving program does not sponsor particular organizations on an on-going basis, but rather as the need arises and as circumstances and funding permits. Past examples of charitable giving are various local civic and non-profit organizations such as law enforcement, fire departments, and school organizations. We have also supported different organizations with donations of products for various causes such as disaster relief and silent auctions. Finally, we have ongoing local charitable partnerships with Abbacare Pregnancy Care Center, and The Village at Orchard Ridge, which is an active retirement community in Winchester, VA.
At TUS, our primary social cause we support is the Free The Girls campaign. Free the Girls (FTG) is an effort dedicated to helping women in transition out of human trafficking situations. While there are many nonprofit organizations that actually rescue women from human trafficking, there were not as many organizations that helped these women after they were rescued. FTG was organized to help women transition back into a normal productive and working lifestyle after they had been rescued out of human trafficking. Women’s bras are considered a luxury item in many third world countries, and bras trade well on the large second hand clothing markets that exist. FTG collects new and gently used women’s bra donations and ships them to Mozambique, where they are distributed to these women in need. These women then sell the bras in the second hand clothing markets to learn business skills and to earn money to help support their families. The women are usually being educated at the same time, and after their daily schooling is over, they proceed to sell their bras in the clothing markets.
In 2014, our owner, Lisa Beggs, partnered with Grace Community Church in Winchester, VA to do a local bra drive for the Free The Girls organization. The response was overwhelming, with over 1,000 bras collected during a 30-day period. The bra drive was featured in the local newspaper, The Winchester Star, and the women in the church and community were absolutely excited about the idea. They shared it on social media and by word-of-mouth with their friends and colleagues, so much so, donations came in from collections at government facilities, public schools and local businesses. Because of the overwhelming response in the community, Lisa applied for TUS to become a permanent local drop-off point for Free The Girls. The Free The Girls website lists all of the local bra drop-off locations currently in place around the country.