Corporate Chain Store News COVID-19 Health/Wellness Independent Store News Southwest Suppliers

Southwest Grocers, Suppliers Take Steps To Address Pandemic

Brookshire seniors Covid-19

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, many Americans are relying on their neighborhood grocery stores to keep them supplied with food and essentials. In the Southwest, Brookshire Grocery Co., Walmart, Natural Grocers and supplier John Soules Foods are sharing with customers information on how they are responding to this national emergency.

Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC) is offering a temporary 5 percent daily discount for senior citizens, through May 5, in all four banners it operates—Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, Spring Market and Fresh by Brookshire’s. The discount is available to guests age 60 or older with valid ID.

BGC also is strongly encouraging that the first hour of operations be reserved as a dedicated time for senior citizens. The company is asking for the community’s help in honoring this practice and in moving any senior guests to the front of the check-out line throughout the day.

“Since 1928, courteous and compassionate service has remained at the core of who we are and what we stand for,” said Brad Brookshire, chairman and CEO for BGC. “We believe it is incredibly important for all of us to be kind to those around us. During these times of concern about Covid-19, we are asking you to join in our efforts to take care of our senior neighbors and others who are most vulnerable. We are eternally grateful to our guests for their support and patience and to our employees for their incredible service during these unprecedented times.”

BGC has waived fees for all guests on Curbside orders, where available, through May 5, as another way to help those who are depending on the company for this service. The company is honoring its advertised promotions and prices. However, since ads are prepared weeks in advance, not all featured products will be available due to the current high demand.

Based in Tyler, Texas, BGC is a regional family-owned grocery business that employs more than 14,000 individuals throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The company operates more than 180 stores under the Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, Fresh by Brookshire’s and Spring Market banners, along with three distribution centers and corporate offices.


Walmart shares latest changes to support associates, customers

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart says its associates have been “nothing short of heroic” in their commitment to serve customers, stock shelves as quickly as possible and keep their stores clean.Walmart Covid-19

“When their communities needed them the most, our people have been at their best. Their efforts continue to be a tremendous source of pride for everyone at Walmart,” the company says.

Over the weekend, Walmart adjusted its operating hours to help make it easier for associates to stock and perform enhanced cleaning and sanitizing. Additional steps will be taken beginning Thursday, March 19.


Store operating hours

Walmart U.S. stores will adjust operating hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Stores that open later than 7 a.m. will continue their regular starting hours. This will further help associates restock the shelves for customers while continuing to clean and sanitize the store. While the store hours change for customers, associates will continue to have access to their regular scheduled shifts and full hours.


Special shopping hours

As older customers may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus and to better support them, Walmart is offering special shopping hours. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers age 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. Its pharmacies and vision centers also will be open during this time.


Item limitations

Walmart says it knows communities are counting on its stores more than ever and it is determined to serve the broadest number of customers and ensure they have access to the key items they are looking for. Walmart stores will have limits for customers in certain categories including paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food.


Essential services

Walmart’s associates are working to have every part of the store ready to serve customers. To help support its people and focus on the most critical areas of the store right now, Walmart will temporarily shut down its Auto Care Centers to allow those associates to focus on stocking and cleaning in the rest of the store.

Also, its vision centers will operate on their normal schedule, providing essential services only such as glasses repair and helping customers pick up existing orders. There will be at least one associate to serve the needs of Vision Care customers in each location, while the other associates will help in the rest of the store.

“We are paying very close attention to our stores and communities and will continue making the necessary changes to help make sure our associates are taken care of and that our customers can get what they need. Let’s all take care of each other out there,” the company says.


Natural Grocers thanks crew with additional benefits

Natural Grocers Covid-19In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented time in which grocery stores are more essential to the well-being of their communities than ever before, Lakewood, Colorado-based Natural Grocers is taking a number of steps to thank its “good4u Crew” for providing essential support to the communities in which it operates.

In addition to the two weeks of paid leave for crew who need it and other benefits that have implemented, Natural Grocers is offering the following benefits:

  • Providing $1 per hour raise to all hourly crew starting the pay period of March 23.
  • Paying a discretionary bonus to all crew.

“We are living and working in extraordinary times and the news regarding the coronavirus pandemic is confusing, worrying and unfortunately driving uncertainty and fear. During these times, it is even more important that we support each other and acknowledge each other for being there for our communities and each other,” said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers EVP.  “As this crisis continues to unfold, we are using our Five Founding Principles to guide us as we navigate how to serve the public and our crew, and one of our Five Founding Principles is our commitment to our good4u crew. We greatly appreciate the hard and dedicated work that our teams have put in over the last weeks.”

Previously, Natural Grocers announced company updates, which include:

  • All 157 Natural Grocers stores will be closing at 7:35 p.m., until further notice, so that crews can restock and thoroughly clean their stores. All stores will open at their normal posted times. These new closing hours will remain in effect until further notice.
  • Actively hiring temporary full-time stocking and cleaning positions at all 157 stores, located in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

To apply for the temporary stocking and cleaning positions, click here or text “GROW” to 97211 to talk with a recruiter.

  • Providing up to two weeks of paid leave to all good4u crew (both full-time and part-time) if they are diagnosed with Covid-19 or if they are placed under mandatory quarantine by public health authorities.
  • Additional pay replacement may be provided for up to an additional 12 weeks under Natural Grocers short-term disability benefit, if a crew member is unable to return to work after the initial two weeks.
  • Rescheduled grand opening dates: The Green Valley Ranch, Colorado, grand opening previously scheduled for March 25  now will open on May 5 and Cedar City, Utah, previously scheduled for April 11 will now open on June 3.
  • All in-store nutrition education classes and recipe demos have been canceled through May 1.
  • All product samplings have been eliminated.
  • All on-tap Kombucha stations have been closed through May 1.
  • All testers have been removed and will replaced with new ones once the pandemic has abated.

To locate the closest Natural Grocers store, click here

For customers who may be feeling ill, home delivery is available at most Natural Grocers locations through Instacart.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. is a specialty retailer of organic and natural groceries, body care products and dietary supplements. Founded in Colorado in 1955, Natural Grocers has more than 3,500 employees and operates 157 stores in 20 states.


John Soules Foods reports on its Covid-19 response plan

Tyler, Texas-based John Soules Foods has reported on its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company continues to monitor the situation and is proactively working to ensure all possible measures are being taken to protect employee welfare and the quality of its products.

Out of an abundance of caution, the company has implemented the following measures:

  • All employees whose daily tasks allow them to work from home will be required to do so.
  • All business travel has been suspended.
  • Only essential visitors will be allowed on company property.
  • All non-essential meetings with outside parties through the end of March have been cancelled.
  • Onsite medical teams will continue to educate employees about Covid-19 risk reduction and measures for maintaining the highest level of protection possible.
  • Employees are encouraged to self-report if they have been in contact with anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms or if they have traveled to certain locations in the United States with severe Covid-19 outbreaks.
  • Sanitation procedures throughout the company are being reinforced.
  • Employee common areas will be continually sanitized throughout the day with chemicals effective in killing coronavirus.
  • If an employee appears to be experiencing flu-like symptoms, they will be required to immediately seek medical attention and remain at home for at least 14 days and until they are free of symptoms.

“In this time of uncertainty, John Soules Foods is committed to maintaining a safe, high-quality supply of products,” the company says. “While there are no known indications that Covid-19 is transferable through food, our safety team is continuing to follow guidance from public health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), to limit the impact of Covid-19. The company’s ability to serve our consumers, retailers and communities has not been impacted, nor has the safety and quality of John Soules Foods products.”

John Soules Foods provides ready-to-cook and fully cooked beef and chicken through retail sales, food service distributors, restaurants and school nutrition programs, and is the No. 1 producer of beef and chicken fajitas in the U.S. Other fully cooked products include rotisserie chicken breast strips, grilled chicken breast strips, pulled chicken, and Certified Angus Beef brand products. It also offers a full line of breaded chicken, ready-to-cook Angus beef and chicken, and fully cooked, antibiotic-free chicken and beef strips.

John Soules Foods was established in 1975 as a family-owned company in Tyler, Texas. Today, the Soules family still operates John Soules Foods from its state-of-the-art facilities on 67 acres just north of Tyler. In 2014, it acquired ProView Foods, which provides breaded chicken products for school and institutional nutrition programs. Breaded chicken products are made and distributed from Gainesville, Georgia.

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