Saving Black Friday

When a nightmare water leak threatened the biggest sales day of the year, Target called the industrial strength service provider

a Case Study by Collins Commercial Services

For a retail giant with facilities nationwide, the stakes don’t get any bigger than the day after Thanksgiving: Black Friday. Heading into Black Friday last year, U.S. shoppers were expected to spend over $32 billion. With most purchases to be made in physical retail stores.

But even on the biggest sales day of the year, disaster can strike.

In 2019, the Target in Sherman, Texas faced a nightmare scenario. On Thanksgiving Day, with the store all prepared to open its doors at 6 a.m for Black Friday shoppers, the staff discovered a water leak behind the facility. And it was cutting off water to the store. Without running water for customers and employees, policy dictated that the store close until water lines could be repaired.

With Black Friday within 12 hours, this Target store was facing a dark night. But they had a reliable, responsive friend in their corner.

At 6:15 p.m., Target called Collins.

On the phone, Target’s manager, a former fire chief, remembers their desperate situation, "The situation went from concern to critical business failure with in a 30-minute window.” But talking with his designated plumbing vendor he didn’t sense urgency. So, he made a decision to request Collins. “Target headquarters allowed me to adjust and pick my company because of the situation around me."

When Collins technician Jason Worley got the call, he was in New Mexico and heading to Thanksgiving dinner. But by 7:38 p.m., Collins had a crew onsite. With one technician driving 76 miles. Night had fallen hours before, but the crew found water welling up in the grass behind the store. They started digging and pumping out water in the cold, wet, and windy darkness, and then they discovered a large leak in the 2-inch copper line, which they repaired. But knowing that the store could not open for Black Friday until water was restored, the service technicians tested the entire waterline for the facility. Which turned out to be a wise decision.

Around 4 a.m., the response team discovered a second leak.

The second leak was nearly as large as the first—and required a tree to be removed to get to the irrigation line. With only two hours till the store opened, the response team was racing against the clock. Technician Jason Worley remembers it well, “We had to remove the tree by the root ball to expose the second leak in the 2-inch PVC irrigation pipe and repair it.”

But repair it they did. Before dawn, running water was restored. The crew packed up their gear but remained onsite for a couple hours—prepared but unseen. They had started in darkness and had finished in darkness. Before the store doors opened. Before anyone could know there’d been a problem.

At 6:00 a.m. the store doors opened to Black Friday shoppers.

Customers came in by the hundreds, racing down the aisles and filing up their carts. They went in and out of bathrooms, washed their hands at sink faucets, and shuttled back to shopping. Cashiers worked frenetically to keep up with the shoppers, by all appearances a normal Black Friday. But to the store staff, it was a miracle. For those who witnessed those dark, tense hours, it was a reminder of how the industrial strength service provider supports and safeguards their business. Day and night.

The store manager relates, “It’s not about the money. It’s about the partnership, the technical proficiency, and always helping me feel supported.” In fact, he says Collins saving Black Friday reminded him of his days as a firefighter.

I remember the feeling as we were fighting some huge fires in the past, nothing was more refreshing than when your tank bell is going off, you’re running out of air, overheating, worn out and heading towards the outside [and you] hear the sweet music of the horn saying help is coming! That is how I felt when Collins came to my rescue!

At Collins Commercial Services, we know the stakes—that facility management directly affects your productivity, customer traffic, and revenue. That’s why we take it so seriously, with a 24-7 response team and service technicians that respond to your calls immediately. And that’s why we do not charge extra for after-hours, holidays, or overtime. Ever. Because if you have a service plan with us, fast and reliable service makes all the difference. Especially on your darkest night.