Independent supermarkets are open and servicing their customer’s grocery needs despite facing many challenges, including a lack of employees and an uncertain supply of goods due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Associated Supermarket Group (ASG).
Supermarket owners along with their employees are on the front lines, opening their doors every day to keep food and other necessities accessible to their customers, while complying with newly established regulations, such as social distancing and overcrowding.
The Associated Supermarket Group (ASG) released a statement highlighting how independent family-owned supermarkets strive to serve their customers despite the challenges they face every day due to the coronavirus crisis.
Due to the tremendous demand for food, paper and cleaning items created by the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, including an increased at-home consumption, supermarkets are facing supply challenges as wholesalers and manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand. Additionally, the virus has also affected manufacturing plants and wholesalers.
The ASG said the lack of employees and difficulties finding employees willing to work at supermarkets is another challenge that these family-owned businesses have encountered. The daily restocking of shelves due to the unprecedented demand from customers has taken a toll on these supermarkets and their employees.
Nonetheless, most of these independent supermarkets are taking steps and protocols to implement the CDC’s and the State’s recommendations to ensure the public and their employees stay safe, including social distancing, crowd control, providing masks and gloves to their employees, installing plexiglass at register areas, and professionally sanitizing the premises with frequency.
“Many of the stores we serve are stepping up their hygiene and sanitation efforts to hospital-grade sterilizations,” said Joe García, President and CEO of Associated Supermarket Group, “and the investment is a significant one for these small businesses. Public collaboration is needed with proper hygiene and discipline so that we can continue to support the stores with retail services and solutions to operate safely while fighting the silent enemy, COVID-19.”
Supermarket owners are asking the public’s cooperation to shop safely.
“Most customers are taking precautions by covering their faces, shopping with one or two people at most, and maintaining a safe social distance between other customers when inside the stores. But we still need public cooperation and mindfulness that our supermarkets are smaller, and we need to protect our employees in order to continue to operate during this crisis. We are asking that people cover their mouth and nose when shopping, have the patience to come into the store and to discard of their gloves and masks in the proper receptacles. Our employees should not have to increase their exposure because of customer’s littering their used personal protective equipment,” said Bill Fani, owner of Met Foods and The Village Barn supermarkets in Staten Island and Queens.
ASG has arranged for supermarkets in the network to have access to PPE for their employees, in addition, to sneeze guards for registers and proper social distancing signage. It’s main supplier C&S Wholesale Grocers has adapted a no-contact delivery system.
“We are providing the supermarkets in our group important information to navigate this very challenging time; from legislation changes to templates with protocols to be posted in the stores for the public’s benefit”, said Zulema Wiscovitch, Executive Vice President & CAO of ASG. “We are also leveraging our media and advertising vehicles to drive public awareness with the campaign Shop Safely, Stay Healthy, which promotes safe grocery shopping and best practices to stay healthy and halt the spread of the COVID-19”, she added.
Associated Supermarket Group serves independently owned supermarkets in the New York Tri-State Area and other cities along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. ASG provides store financing, leverages its relationships with suppliers and vendors, as well as its collective buying power to provide efficient procurement, distribution, marketing, merchandising, advertising, promotion and other retail solutions.
ASG’s supermarket banners include Associated, Compare, Met Foods, Met Fresh, Metropolitan City Market, Pioneer, and other independently named stores. For more information about the Associated Supermarket Group visit, www.asghq.com.