If the Shoe Fits, Wear It!

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Rewarding Employees for Commute Options Fits with FootZone’s Culture

Helping people find good shoes that fit their feet well is one of the things employees at FootZone, a running shoe store in downtown Bend, are compensated for on pay day. Shoe sales, fitting, and many other responsibilities, comprise the basis for their regular wages. But these employees also get compensated for using commute options. Through the store’s “green wage” program, they receive a $.25 per hour bonus for getting to work in a way other than driving a car.

The “green wage,” FootZone’s unique employee incentive program, was the brain child of owner Teague Hatfield. “I wanted to find a way to create incentives for employees to find a way to get to work without a car,” said Hatfield. He started the program when he bought the small business in 1999, and it has been part of the store’s culture since.

“All businesses create their own culture, and this is one of the ways that we cultivate that culture,” said Hatfield. He believes that the store’s ability to attract, and keep, high quality employees is due in part to their culture of fun loving, conscientious and active employees. The fact that his 11 employees use various forms of active transportation fits with the store’s motto of “Run. Walk. Thrive.” It also improves his business’ image.

“Teague puts his money where his mouth is,” said Jeff Monson, executive director of Commute Options, a local organization that promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. FootZone is also a Commute Options Partner and participates in the annual Commute Options Week commuter challenge.

Commute Options Partners are also eligible to receive incentives for commuter options used, and tracked. For every 45 trips saved by choosing an option other than driving alone, employees receive a $20 gift certificate to the local company of their choice, including Grocery Outlet, The Shops at the Old Mill District, Bend Brewing Company, FootZone, Hutch’s Bicycles, The Pine Tavern Restaurant, Red Carpet Express Gas Station and Car Wash, and D&H Texaco in Redmond.

“Using commuter options is a good idea for anyone,” said Monson. “But it is especially important for businesses in downtown areas, where parking spaces are limited.” When employees use parking spaces intended for customers, it directly and adversely affects a business’ revenue.

“I think it’s important to get the word out that there are businesses that are doing something about (the parking issue),” said Hatfield. “Our incentive programs, hopefully in a creative way, help with that issue, instead of compounding it.”

Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information about Commute Options, contact Jeff Monson, Executive Director of Commute Options at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org.
Annissa Anderson is a freelance writer and PR consultant in Bend

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