Shine On – meet the nominees – Joey’s, Your Independent Grocery

Saint Andrews – So many things have changed for people during the past few months. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge effect on everyone, and on a number of businesses. Many businesses had to shutter for a few weeks, and the ones that did remain open were advised to change a lot of their practices in order to ensure safety for customers as well as staff. Some businesses went over and above the call of duty, and did even more for their customers.

This is why The Saint Croix Courier created the Shine On campaign. People are encouraged to nominate the businesses they think have gone above and beyond during this time, and many people in Saint Andrews nominated Joey’s, Your Independent Grocer.

Assistant Manager Cheryl Hachey said they made several changes in the store in order to improve safety for everyone. She said the first thing Manager Joey Craswell did was to move any obstructions from the aisles, such as baskets with sale items.

“Everything came off the floor, and arrows were put in their place so that there was direction for traffic,” said Hachey. “On the busier times, we had someone in the door monitoring the amount of people that were in and out. We don’t normally have that problem. We can have up to 25 people. We’ve been fortunate that people are spacing themselves out.”

Another measure now in place is the extended hours of the store. Hachey said they are now open from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. just for seniors and those who may be immune-compromised. They are very strict with this policy, because they want all of their customers to feel safe while they are shopping.

In the early days of COVID-19, the store partnered with the Kiwanis Club to deliver groceries to those who were self-quarantining or unable to get to the store. They had assigned a couple of staff members to take orders that came in by phone and email, and then cashiers who weren’t ringing in items would pick the orders and get them ready for delivery.

A member of the Kiwanis Club would then take the orders to the customers. That program is still going on, but now it is in partnership with Charlotte Dial-a-Ride since it as slowed down quite a bit. The store also offers curbside pickup.

“After it slowed down, the need wasn’t as great, so what we did was curbside pickup. If someone calls, we’ll pick the order. They give us a call when they come, and we take it out. They pop their trunk and we put it in. There’s no contact with the customer whatsoever. It’s a good little system,” said Hachey.

Other safety measures have been put in place, including social distancing, with arrows and dots on the floor to mark the two-meter distance people are asked to stay from one another. Staff members wear masks and gloves when they are on the floor, and customers are encouraged to do so as well. There is a hand sanitizing station at the front door, and all shopping carts are sanitized after each use.

“People are always so kind. They always want to put the carts away, because it’s habit. But now we have to ask them to leave them and we sanitize them.”

Many people have asked about using their reusable shopping bags. Hachey said customers may do so if they wish, but they must pack the bags themselves at the parcel pickup area, because there just isn’t enough room on the counters.

Hachey was surprised and pleased to learn that the store was nominated for a Shine On award. She said they couldn’t have done all that they have done without the support of their loyal customers, adding that the management and staff thank all of their customers from the bottom of their hearts. Many customers went out of their way to thank store employees, from bringing in home-made fudge to delivering donuts and gift cards from Tim Horton’s.

“They were very kind and generous, and we are so appreciative of the measures they are taking. I would say about three quarters are still wearing masks and gloves. They’re keeping us safe while we’re keeping them safe. It’s a team effort. That’s quite an honour. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The people that are from town are like family.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca