Local grocery stores staying open, providing essentials and more
No self serve right now, but deliveries are happening.
Sure, you can use a delivery service app to get groceries, but do they come with a familiar face? Local grocery stores in Oakmont, Kenwood and Glen Ellen are like first responders – a role thrust upon them by the Coronavirus pandemic – and they are rising to the occasion.
At the Oakmont Market (Hours: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.), store owner Dave Arcado said that they are doing lots and lots of deliveries. On Friday, March 27, they made 75 deliveries in Oakmont. Fewer people are shopping in the store, about half a dozen at any one time, he estimates, so his staff has enough time to take phone orders, including credit card payment, and make deliveries, generally within a few hours. The groceries are left on the customer’s doorstep so there’s no physical contact.
In the store, workers wear gloves and spray the countertops with alcohol after each customer, and they’ve taped lines on the floor to keep people six feet apart as they wait for the register. The busiest time of day is 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
As far as the supply chain goes, Arcado said that they are getting everything they order from their suppliers, but only about half or a third of the amounts requested. That’s better than two weeks ago, though, when they ordered groceries, deli and frozen foods and only got the grocery order, and only half of that. As of March 28, they even had toilet paper and paper towels, although Arcado said they were sent a case of bamboo fiber TP, which he opened up to see what it was like. It’s fine. Arcado has not had any price increases from his suppliers.
Kenwood Market (New Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) has been doing a great lunch business, with vineyard workers who are still employed and parents home with their children. “People have been thanking us for being open,” said Anna behind the deli counter. They’ve been selling lots of sliced meats and cheeses, lots of eggs, and bleach – when they have it. Oh, and lots of beer and booze.
It’s been hard to get deliveries of toilet paper and cleaning supplies, and regular eggs. Lately they’ve only been able to get organic eggs, which are more expensive. But store owners Sam and Lakhwinder Singh said they are getting all their dairy delivered locally, from Clover, so they have plenty of milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, half and half, and more, and Lakhwinder said that their prices are lower than Safeway’s. As for orders being filled by their distributors, it’s been spotty. They got one third of their frozen food and deli orders the week of March 23-27, and prices have gone up on some products, which means they have to reprice them on the store’s computer system and relabel the shelves. Fortunately, they did get toilet paper. They also got a full order of Amy’s frozen pizzas. The store is generally well stocked.
Glen Ellen Village Market (Hours 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.) is well-supplied, although they have shut down their self-serve salad and hot food bars. Customers can still get hot food in Grab and Go boxes and fried food upon request. Store Manager Joe Pedro said on March 24 that they had plenty of chickens (delivered directly from Mary’s), meat, dairy and produce, but getting toilet paper was a problem. As for the supply chain, Pedro said, “The warehouses still have a ton of food.” The problem is getting it distributed. Being a small company, they are not the first priority for delivery. On top of that, drivers are maxed out in terms of how many hours a day they’re allowed to work, so warehouse businesses have been hiring new drivers who don’t know the area or the stores. A delivery that used to take one hour can now take three hours.
The busiest shopping time at GEVM is 3 p.m., and the quietest times to shop are when they open at 6 a.m., and between 8 and 9 p.m. at night. Pedro said that most of the customers are locals. You can also order groceries on their website, www.glenellenvillagemarket.org, and pick up in the parking lot. They’ve been getting about 20 to 30 orders a day.
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