Storefront Stories – Stop & Shop
Storefront Stories is presented by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. We are featuring various island business in hopes to promote how our local entrepreneurs are adapting to this new environment and promoting the amazing things they are doing for our island community. We will be introducing different businesses to show how they have chosen to pivot, their recent experiences, personal growth, and any tips or advice they have learned over the last 6 months.
Whether you live here year-round or are just a part time resident, you know them and you know them well. Stop & Shop is the main grocery provider on the island and has been at the forefront of the global pandemic. With two locations on island, they are here to serve our community and we are so thankful.
Stop & Shop
is also a Diamond level Signature Sponsor with the Chamber of Commerce.
The Nantucket Chamber spoke with David Monast of Stop & Shop.
1. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced during the time of Covid-19 both personally and professionally?
Initially, the biggest challenge was training our associates and customers on the important guidelines issued by the CDC as well as local and state health authorities - specifically, the significance of wearing personal protective equipment. I also had to educate our customers on obstacles our supply chain faced in getting product in-store. Recently, recruiting seasonal help has been a challenge for the store team due to the absence of seasonal workers on visas – but we’ve managed to hire additional support to meet increased demand this summer. Personally, it was tough to be distant from my family and friends. As a store manager, you encounter many people throughout the day, and I was worried of the potential to catch the virus and pass it to loved ones.
2. What are some ways you and your business have adjusted to this ‘new normal’?
We’re focused on maintaining a safe environment for our customers and associates and carrying out CDC guidelines. We have enhanced cleaning and sanitizing and reinforced social distancing measures.
We’ve taken steps to protect our community that include reducing capacity limits in the store and instituting one-way aisles. We’re offering special shopping hours every day from 6:00am-7:30am to accommodate customers 60 and older and those with weakened immune systems. The special hours allow for these community members to shop in a less crowded environment, which better enables social distancing. We have also provided our staff with gloves, masks, face shields and hand sanitizer and encourage frequent hand washing. Our associates are required to wear masks while at work. Many of the safety measures we have put in place have helped to limit close contact such as installing clear plastic guards at our registers. Because the register area doesn’t allow for the cashier and customer to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart per CDC guidelines, these plexi-glass guards were added for protection. The plexi-guards are also at the customer service desk and recently added to our seafood and meat service areas.
In addition, we are closely monitoring busy periods at checkouts to ensure proper social distancing. We make an effort to open only every other register lane to create further distancing between customers at checkout instead of opening lanes right next to each other. We have signage throughout the store that reminds customers of CDC guidelines. We have scheduled and rotated work assignments to practice social distancing in various departments. For example, associates avoid stocking shelves together and keep a safe distance when slicing deli meat near one another.
3. How has Covid-19 made you a better business person or store owner?
I have always been appreciative of my associates, but this pandemic has made me even more grateful to my team and their dedication in supporting each other and our customers. Covid-19 has strengthened my ability to identify and source alternative products and brands since many items were limited in supply on a national level. Stocking the shelves with new and alternative products ensured customers had access to the items that they were looking for.
4. What are some helpful tips and insight that you might give another leader of a business?
Be patient and understanding since we are all going thorough this very uncertain time together. Always stay informed on the latest CDC guidelines, local and state mandates, and updates to your in-store protocols accordingly.
5. What is a positive outcome of Covid-19?
People are more appreciative of grocery store workers and recognize the important role we play in our communities. There isn’t a day that goes by without a customer thanking us! Our associates are working hard to keep our stores clean, safe and well stocked for our community, and I couldn’t be prouder of my team.
Thank you Stop & Shop for participating in our Storefront Stories Series! Learn more about Stop & Shop here!
Photo provided by Fairwinds Nantucket