2009 Best Companies rank: 32
While most of the retail sector was hit hard during last year's fourth quarter, Container Store actually saw its November and December earnings increase over 2007 -- although that was the company's hardest in its 30 years. It stuck to expansion plans despite the downturn -- opening four new stores last year, and adding 70 employees to its 4,000-strong workforce. Those staffers get lots of training, too (average is 241 hours per employee per year).
The retailer has avoided layoffs in this economy by freezing salaries and keeping a watchful eye on the balance sheet. Famous for its "open door" communication-driven culture, Container Store asked employees to do all they could to ensure the company's strength during a tough retail climate. A memo to staff from president Melissa Reiff read: "We have to be more responsive, more adaptable and much more efficient with our resources." A contest with cash incentives was held to boost sales.
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