By Guy LaPerle
Owner of LaPerle’s IGA in Colebrook, N.H.
When you’re a business owner there’s nothing better than making a difference in the world, unless it’s making a difference and benefiting your business at the same time—which is exactly what I’ve seen as a pioneer of the green business movement. I’ve been gearing green over the last 20 years because I felt an obligation to do my part to help the environment, but every step of the way—from installing LED lighting and solar panels to now electric car charges—I’ve seen pretty solid bottom line benefits.
With guidance from my electric provider, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC), I’ve been able to make environmentally focused improvements that made business sense and produced an immediate reduction in operating costs. Our LED lighting and solar panels, for example, are together saving us roughly $24,000 a year. And while it may take a little time to get a full return on the initial investment, incentives from our electric provider have been a big help. And of course there’s another benefit that I think more than justifies that initial cost—we can feel good about saving the environment and being an example for everyone in our community.
That was really the idea behind adding the car chargers. It seems unlikely that we’ll see a big return on that particular effort for quite some time, but what it does for our area is extremely important. We’ve given people with electric cars the ability to travel to the North Country and beyond to the Canadian border 10 miles away, and in doing so, we’re changing perceptions about this community. You see a car charger and you know we’re not in the Dark Ages up here, and that means a lot to the people we serve.
Having the power to do the right thing is one of the biggest benefits of being an independent retailer, and protecting the environment is a decision that’s right for everyone.
This guest blog originally appeared in IGA’s daily newsletter The Independent View.