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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Phone Service

When I call Chris Jourdan’s cell phone, the Black Eyed Peas answer the phone. The pop rap group who starred in this year’s Super Bowl halftime show sing, “I got a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.” It’s a recording, of course, and when you own 13 Verizon Wireless Zone stores (six in the Tri-State, six in Ohio, and one in Florida) like Jourdan does, you know how to master your cellphone. Jourdan could have chosen any song, but this catchy, upbeat, often-played radio hit encompassed his outlook — an encouraging attitude that things can change for the better.

In early 2008, Jourdan was a business sales manager with Verizon, the national phone service company, in central Ohio when his wife, Lindsay, an Evansville native, longed for her hometown. In November 2008, the couple arrived in the River City and opened Verizon stores in Madisonville and Owensboro, Ky., and Newburgh, Ind. The couple had big promotional plans such as Break the Record Days, an incentive program for employees to surpass sales records, but a year later, the idea morphed into Give Back Days, a charitable outreach program aiding nonprofits. “As opposed to an inward event,” Jourdan says, “we wanted to get out into the community and volunteer our time.”

At these events, held on the third Saturday of every month at the Jourdans’ stores, $20 from every phone purchase goes to a selected charity. The first one in November 2009 raised a few hundred dollars that bought food for the Tri-State Food Bank. More than a year later, the Verizon stores earn around $1,500 for their charitable outreach each month.

Jourdan credits the inspiration for this ongoing program from an event that happened when he was 23 years old: the death of his father. “That opened my eyes to what I was doing with my time,” Jourdan says. “I started focusing my goals, my dreams outward instead of inward. I realized that if I could help those around me achieve their goals, then my ambitions would take care of themselves.”

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