LIMA — Nearly two weeks ago, Chief Supermarket on Cable Road in Lima had people scurrying through the store, loading up their carts with just about anything they could find, in preparation for a potential shelter in place. Inside it resembled preparations for a blizzard.
Ohio Health Director Amy Acton issued the shelter in place order effective last Monday at 11:59 p.m.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in business, that’s for sure,” said Justin Long, store director at Chief Supermarkets. “People definitely want to be prepared. Right now they’re definitely staying at home more and making more meals at home. So folks really kind of come out and did a lot of extra shopping and preparation for that.”
At the Ottawa Kohls’ Market, things have settled down.
“It’s back to more like a normal day,” said Mark Kohls, owner of Kohls’ Market. It really hit the on (March) 12th when the governor announced schools were closed for three weeks. It just went gangbusters the rest of that weekend all last week and then Sunday of this week it was busier than a normal Sunday but we handled it fine.”
At Olde Thyme Pantry on Elida Road in Elida, things have slowed a bit.
If people don’t want to come inside they can make accommodations.
“If somebody calls in, they can pay over the phone we’ll process payment when they get there and deliver it right to their car,” said Mark Brunk, owner of Olde Thyme Pantry.
All three stores have taken precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 doing anything from spraying down counters to creating physical distancing markers on the floor.
“We’ve been marking the check lanes right up front here to just kind of remind our shoppers to give each other that six feet of space for social distancing that everyone’s recommending right now,” Long said. “We had Certified Power Wash come out and pressure wash and sanitize all the carts on Monday and then we’re also doing routine cleaning multiple times each day with disinfectants just to make sure that we maintain the cleanest environment possible for our associates and our customers.”
For the most part, the supply chain is holding up.
“We don’t get everything we order. They’re trying to spread it out evenly among all stores. So everybody gets some, and we’ve had a limit on it for probably the last week or so,” Kohls said.
The exception still is toilet paper.
“It goes as fast as we get it,” Kohls said.
And there may also be shortages of flour.
“Baking products are definitely getting a huge run on them. People are going back to baking bread, which is kind of foreign. So your flour and your yeast and that type of thing has been a little bit difficult to get,” Brunk said.
Stores are also accommodating seniors.
“We have kept our regular business hours but on Tuesdays and Thursdays we are doing senior hours for the first hour which is 9 to 10,” Brunk said.
“We’ve also implemented our new senior shopping hours from 6 to 8. We’re offering that for really everyone that’s a senior to utilize that time to come out and do their shopping and then we’re also closing the store at midnight and reopening at 6 a.m. to make sure that we’re cleaning and restocking and again offering the best environment for our customers and our associates,” Long said.
Limitations on some products are also in place at some stores.
“We pretty much removed all of our limits on items from the store with the exception of toilet paper right now. Toilet paper is limit one just so we can make sure that we have enough for everyone,” Long added.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.