▶️ COVID-19: Grocery stores scrambling to keep shelves stocked with essentials; workers needed

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

The Oliver Lemon’s grocery store in Terrebonne had toilet paper on the shelves this morning, thanks in part to an all-hands-deck approach by staff and managers.

Employees are working overtime.

An employee who is on vacation came in to help stock shelves.

They were joined by company executives who helped unload shipments, brought the boxes into the aisles and put the products on the shelves

“For us, it isn’t a panic. I understand there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the community with all the closures and the disruptions to daily life,” said Lauren Johnson, CEO of Rudy’s Markets Inc. “We focus on what we know and that’s within our four walls and selling groceries, and we are going to keep doing that. We’re going to keep selling groceries and have a calm presence.”

In addition to the well publicized run on toilet tissue and cleaning products, Johnson says shoppers bought a lot of chicken and beef, baby formula, milk, eggs and bread. The store implemented restrictions on some products to ensure there’s enough to go around.

“You’ll see on signs around all of our stores that we limiting things like toilet paper to two per person to spread that toilet paper love and that sanitizer love and that bleach love to as many households as we can,” Johnson said. 

Amidst the panic shopping is an opportunity. Many stores are hiring temporary workers to help re-supply the shelves, a job known inside the industry as “throwing freight.”

“Some stores need experience, others don’t,” said Stephanie Miller, Express Employment Professionals. “You don’t have to have experience in grocery to work there. If you are somebody who is looking for work or can’t go to work at your other job, this is a great way to bring in some income in the interim.”

Miller’s agency is looking to fill 30 freight throwing positions that pay $13 to $15 per hour.

She says it’s a good way to get a foot in the door of the grocery business which, as more and more people are realizing during the corona-virus scare, is an essential industry that everybody relies on.

 

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