They're 'Not Your Typical Business'

Thursday, August 31, 2006

MANCHESTER, N.H. - When it comes to employee perks and community involvement, larger companies don't have anything on Rehabilitation Equipment Associates, says President Jan Soderquist.
It's not unusual for the company to host periodic cookouts, exercise classes and "lunch and learn" events for its employees. It also raffles off modified bikes and, along with other organizations, sponsors "Toys for the Holidays."
"We're a small company, but we do big company things," said Soderquist, who started REQ 23 years ago in her Goffstown, N.H., home. "It's one thing to say your business is worthwhile because you're helping people; it's another thing to put that into positive action."
That's the mind-set that earned REQ the "Not Your Typical Business Award" from Citizens Bank in July. The bank and the New Hampshire Business Review present the award to a company each month for its dedication to "the three Cs": customers, colleagues and community.
REQ held an event at its 14,000-square-foot facility in late-July to celebrate the award. It was attended by about 80 people--employees, customers, business partners and even Mayor Frank Guinta.
"It felt like I was attending the Academy Awards," Soderquist said.
Kathleen Reardon, the director of public affairs and community relations for Citizens Bank, was equally impressed by the event.
"You could really feel the spirit," she said. "Customers, vendors and other people who have been associated with the company for years just spontaneously began giving testimonials. It reinforced what we already knew."
Citizens Bank began presenting the award three years ago, after it seemed like the media was reporting on business scandal after business scandal, Reardon said.
"We wanted to highlight the companies that were doing something right," she said. "There are hundreds of them."