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What your local grocer is doing to keep up with high demand: “There is no shortage of food”

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COVID-19 Idaho

Demand at local grocery stores spiked in recent days, with many shelves starting to look more bare than normal.

Idaho Governor Brad Little emphasized over the weekend that “there is no shortage of food.”

Here’s the measures grocers locally put in place to keep up.

[Idaho business leaders urge folks to find ways to support local]

Albertsons

“Our communities should know that we plan to keep our stores open and ready to serve them,” Albertsons Companies spokesperson Kathy Holland said. “In many markets, we are asking customers to respect quantity limits of select, high-demand items to help ensure more of our neighbors can find the products they need.”

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Beyond shortages of paper products, some Albertsons stores also saw lower-than-normal stocking levels of frozen and other goods.

“We’re refilling high-demand products as quickly as we can through our robust and sophisticated supply chain,” Holland said. “Many of our stores receive a delivery of products every day. There is no shortage of food in the supply chain. Suppliers have plenty of the essential food, medicines and goods that all our communities need.”

Holland said that if a store doesn’t have the product someone is looking for, they should check back the next day. She also said that stores may have a reduced variety for the time-being as managers work to keep up.

“This streamlining of goods ensures we can provide the most essential goods to as many customers as possible,” she said.

[Stuck at home? Sparklight changing data cap policy, for now]

Winco Foods

A representative for Winco Foods did not respond to our requests for comment.

However, in a posting on Facebook, the retailer said it would now step back from 24-hour operation at all stores. All stores in the chain will close between midnight and 5am for restocking and cleaning operations.

“Our teams are working around the clock to keep our stores open, and as clean & stocked as possible,” the posting said. “We are still experiencing higher than normal demand on a variety of products. Please note that select locations may adjust their hours, see store signage for full details.”

Winco Foods first said it would scale back hours at some stores, but widened the net to include all locations. The Boise-based grocery chain also said it wouldn’t accept returns on items “overbought because of the Coronavirus.” It is also limiting some purchase quantities.

Boise Co-Op

The Boise Co-Op announced it would adjust open hours at its two local locations from 8am-8pm through the end of April.

Store officials also said they would focus on stocking shelves with staple goods. The Co-Op also said it would temporarily stop use of reusable shopping bags and reusable drink containers. It also encourages folks to shop online from home using Instacart.

Walmart

This weekend, Walmart announced it would also cut back on hours, closing from 11pm to 6am each day, “until further notice.” The time will be used by staffers to restock and clean stores. The retailer emphasizes its supply chain and trucking fleet continue working to restock store shelves.

Fred Meyer

The grocer, owned by Kroger Co., has kept is usual hours in place. But company officials did say they are hiring additional workers to keep up with demand.

“To help keep our stores stocked with fresh, affordable food and essentials, we’re now hiring…with immediate positions available. If you or someone you know is interested in joining our team, we’d love to hear from you,” the retailer said in a statement according to KGW-TV.

Fred Meyer’s online jobs portal shows more than a dozen jobs between Boise, Nampa, Garden City, and Meridian.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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