Provo Mom-And-Pop Grocer Has ‘All Hands On Deck’ Amid COVID-19 Spread
Mar 13, 2020, 5:40 AM
PROVO, Utah —Long lines carried away full carts from grocery stores across the county and state Thursday, as shoppers prepared for potential quarantines and other social distancing measures in the wake of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
National retailers and mom-and-pops alike struggled to keep up with demand, with empty shelves expanding beyond those that typically house toiletries, bottled water and cold remedies.
In Provo, Day’s Market owner Brock Day said his family had already made special trips to suppliers to keep items in stock as much as possible.
“This morning we got a regular delivery,” Day said. “We anticipated most of that would be gone midday, so we actually drove a truck and trailer up to our warehouse to pick up groceries ourselves just so we could have more for the evening and tomorrow morning.”
Day said they hand-stacked 300 cases of product themselves, and that’s far from standard practice.
“Never!” Day said. “It’s like we’re just trying to do anything we can to get product here to help (keep) our customers at ease.”
Certain items were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain in stock – including powdered milk, flour and sugar – and Day said the store planned to institute limits on purchases of certain items.
“The suppliers are telling us we could be five – 10 days out on those types of things,” Day said.
Workers had already seen 14 and 15-hour days in what was being described at the store as an “all hands on deck” situation.
“My dad actually jumped in on the check stand last night. (He) hasn’t done that for a long time – it’s not something he would typically do,” Day said. “We’ve had neighbors reach out and come down just to help put things on the shelves.”
Day said that kind of support from the community has been overwhelming.
“It kind of hits you really hard that you have friends and people that are close to you that care enough to say, ‘Hey, how can I help?’” Day said.
Day recommended shoppers buy what they need for a 10 – 14 days, but he also urged them not to panic.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Day said. “Man, it’s a challenge just trying to keep up with all the needs.”