Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
March 23, 2020
I want to begin first by acknowledging the staff and the volunteers here at the Co-op. These individuals have willingly put themselves on the front line of serving the needs of community in these uncertain times and have done so with a selfless passion and are the daily reminder and example of living with purpose and of service to others. I am and will be forever thankful for everything they are doing.
As we enter the 3rd week of making adjustments to the ever-changing environment of creating “new norms” surrounding our daily living with COVID-19, I wanted to provide some updates and make some requests.
Your Co-op team has been working continually on ideas and solutions to improve the social distancing and reduction of high touch points of interaction while still be opening to the public.
- Monday– we installed plexiglass barriers at the registers, deli, meat and seafood counters to limit the direct contact between staff and customers that is closer than the 6ft distancing rule.
- Encouraging owners to open house accounts with us. It is a simple, easy process which allows you to create a pre-paid account from which we will deduct funds when you make purchases. Thereby eliminating the need for cash or credit/debit card pin pad touch or interactions. Simply call customer service or speak to a cashier to set one up.
- Encouraging limiting cash transactions when possible.
- Requesting that our cashiers sign any debit /credit receipts on customer’s behalf to avoid contact with pens. The receipts are signed in front of the customers before leaving.
- Requesting that personal, reusable bags be left at home moving forward. As most of us do not wash and sanitize these bags on a regular basis.
- Returns will not be accepted. We will continue to offer refunds for quality concern issues.
- In the process of prepacking our bulk foods into small and large containers to reduce high touch points areas in this area.
- Requesting that customers limit the use of the restrooms while shopping. We understand that mother nature calls but hoping you could schedule the call before coming to the store.
- Use our home delivery / curbside pickup option available on our website
- We have added a Saturday delivery /pickup option thanks to the many volunteers willing to help with this program. To help with shopping and delivery– sign up below
Things on the Horizon:
As we see a stronger surge in home deliveries, we may need to modify our store hours on those delivery days to allow the staff and volunteers the opportunity to complete these orders. Just yesterday we pushed out about 100 orders which equated to just under $10,000 in just 4 hours. We would normally do about $11-12K on a typical Tuesday being open from 8am to 8pm. We will communicate if this need arises.
We also ask that you continue to share our story and your experiences on your social media. We are seeing more shoppers outside of Swarthmore asking for home delivery from this. We are also seeing a small increase in people signing up to be new owners. This is happening because of your active ownership participation.
As you have just read, your team at the Co-op is working hard and proactively to protect the health of everybody. We are also looking at how to modify and adjust our work patterns and habits in this highly personal and interactive industry.
Finally, I want to reassure everyone that food suppliers have product coming in and are working hard to get the products out to the stores. We are starting to see fuller in stock availability occurring in the food chain. It is simply going to take a little bit of time for the supply chain to catch up and adjust from our eating out habits to our current staying home and cooking. You can thank all our local vendors and producers for keeping us in stock for some of the basic daily essentials like milk, eggs, bread even pasta and pasta sauce. We are proud of our working partnership with over 150+ local food producers and vendors.
Thank you again for your continued shopping support and having your trust as we work thru these unprecedented and challenging times.
Mike and the Co-op Staff
March 23, 2020
We have added another layer of protection against COVID-19. All checkout lanes, the deli counter and the meat/ seafood counter now have creatively designed barriers to keep with social distancing.
March 20, 2020
As we roll into the 2nd week of closures of schools and businesses, we find ourselves in the food business deemed essential personal in this global pandemic. Know that your staff at the Co-op will continue to be here to serve you in the best ways we know possible and provide the best service we can in these times. Also understand that we are working hard to find alternative sources for the products in which we are seeing out of stock status or shortages from our current vendors.
We are also raising our precautionary steps to help in the containment of COVID-19. We understand that these steps are not 100% effective in regard to this matter however we deemed it worthy to help the cause.
- Starting today, the staff will be wearing protective masks to help with reduction of our microbial matter when engaging with shoppers. We may all look like bank robbers from the Wild West days, but we are working to do our part together.
- We have also increased our ask, through the week, for volunteers on 4 fronts-Door Control to help limit the capacity to 50 people, Cleaning crew to help with sanitizing, personal shopping/home delivery for those needing it and for restocking the shelves. For additional details and to sign up please visit our website. https://swarthmore.coop/
Since we are a community supported store where everyone is a neighbor of someone shopping, we are asking folks to help do their part for everyone. Although we cannot require the following, we are asking for the sake of everyone in the surrounding communities.
- Before coming to the store to create some type of mask. Some protection is better than no protection. A basic mask can be created out of any material with a dimension of 22×22 inches, folded into a triangle then tied around the back of your neck.
- There is a now a hand sanitizing station at the door for folks to sanitize hands for 10 seconds before entering.
- Social distancing is 6ft. We have taped the store with blue and green markings as a friendly reminder for everyone to keep separation as best as possible when shopping.
- Asking shoppers to limit the number of folks coming in as a group to just one individual to help maintain social distancing and to expedite the shop for others.
Understand we will continue to modify our attempts to assist in reducing the curve of the spread of this virus and work through various agencies and sources to attempt to mitigate the growth of COVID-19.
As always in cooperation,
Mike and your staff at the Co-op
March 17, 2020
We are so proud of the extra effort, commitment, and adaptability of all of our Co-op staff members (and our volunteers, too) that are keeping our store open and working well for our community. As events unfold, we’re making adjustments to continue accomplishing everything we can for our owners and shoppers. Please make note of the following as you plan your Co-op visits:
- IMPORTANT: Temporary Changes to Our Hours to Better Serve our Customers
- Effective Wednesday, March 18, our operating hours will be adjusted to: Monday through Saturday — 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday — 10 a.m. to 6 pm.
- These changes will help ensure that our employees have needed time in the mornings and evenings to safely stock and properly sanitize the store.
- Temporary Suspension of Self-Serve Hot Coffee and Hot Soup Bar – In order to maximize safety for our shoppers, we will be temporarily eliminating both our self-serve hot coffee station, and our popular self- serve soup bar at the front of the store. No worries! We will continue to have an unrivaled selection of coffee drinks and ground coffees in the store, and we will offer the Co-op soups that you enjoy in pre-packaged take-home containers at the rear of the store.
- Re-Routed Customer Check-Out Queue at the Front of the Store – In order to better handle the extra heavy customer traffic in the store, and to allow customers to better distance themselves from others in the check-out line, we’ve re-routed the queue to the front of the store. Look for the blue tape on the floor and the signs to help direct you.
- Help Support Your Favorite Retailers with the Purchase of Gift Cards at the Co-op – This is a wonderful way to support your favorite retailers and their employees during these very tough times of closures. We have a great selection of retailers represented in our gift card carousel at the front of the store. In addition, Co-op store gift cards are always available!
Volunteers Update: We’ve had a terrifically welcome response from the community in supplying volunteers to help with increased store needs and tasks. We have an additional need for volunteers to give us an hour sometime during the day to help us sanitize and wipe frequent touch points in the store. If you can help us with this important task, please go to the “Volunteer” section of the Co-op website, and complete the volunteer task form.
Just a reminder — This is a great time to consider becoming an owner at the Co-op, if you don’t already enjoy the benefits of ownership. Our website makes it easy!
A very grateful thanks to all of our shoppers and volunteers for truly making the Co-op a community project during these interesting times! Keep shopping, and be safe and healthy.
March 16, 2020
As we start our day this morning there have been major developments from the CDC and from Governor Tom Wolf in regard to the limit of people gathered at any one location in regard to the COVID-19 outbreak.
To keep with the updated mandates and to be proactive for the communities’ health we have taken several steps to help with the importance of social distancing awareness and the flow of customers into the store.
At this point.
- All outdoor seating has been removed.
- The movement in and out of the store has been restricted to the side doors on Lincoln Ave.
- We have created a card system at the entrance which allows us to control the number of people in the store at any one time to no more than 50 people, which also includes staff.
- Instructions are posted at the door about the system
- Simple details about the card system…
- Take a yellow card with you as you enter the store
- If there are no yellow cards outside that means we are currently at our capacity of 50 people
- The cards will be replenished as customers leave the store.
- We have instituted an online order process for pick up and home delivery.
- Here is the link https://swarthmore.coop/departments/home-delivery/
- Your leadership team is meeting later today to discuss next step protocols for the store in the event we need to further reduce access to the store.
- We ask folks to continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to take advantage of the pickup/home delivery if feeling sick.
As hard as this is to limit access to a community hub center, understand we are making these decisions in the best interest of everyone based on the guidelines being recommended by local, state and federal authorities and in preparedness for the new norms for the next 2 months.
We will continue to keep everyone posted on our response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mike and your Co-op Team
March 15, 2020
Below is our strategy to accommodate the desire and need by our community for personal shopping – home delivery and our request for assistance in restocking the shelves with the arrival of COVID-19 to our area and the mandates being put in place by Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf in regards to limiting social gatherings.
Volunteering to help
We have 2 needs
Restocking the shelves..
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday anytime after 9 am.
- We have an immediate need for tomorrow (3/16)
Personal Shopping & Home Delivery
- Tuesday and Thursday to start the program this week however would like to expand the delivery options based on the volunteering.
To sign up
We ask you go to our webpage…..https://swarthmore.coop/volunteer/. Please completely fill out the form so we can organize and coordinate days and times moving forward.
How personal shopping and home delivery will work:
- To start — we will only be delivering on Tuesday and Thursday until we can coordinate the volunteers to expand on the days.
- ALL Orders must be placed online at https://swarthmore.coop/departments/home-delivery/
- No phone orders will be accepted. We are not equipped to handle any heavy volumes of calls.
- There is also a $30 minimum order.
- Delivery radius is 5 miles from the CO-OP.
- Orders will be selected in the order they are received. You can order anytime.
- A member of the staff/volunteer will then shop the order.
- The shopper will contact you to discuss the order and any out of stocks or substitutions that we can offer. The order will then be adjusted and brought to the register to ring out your purchase.
- At the end of the transactions we will contact you with the total and ask that you have your credit card ready to give your information to the cashier. Sorry no cash or checks will be accepted to avoid contact.
- Your order will then be stored accordingly and will be delivered as soon as a volunteer or staff member becomes available or you can come by and pick it up yourself.
- We will contact you one last time to inform you that your order is out for delivery and that the delivery person will knock and leave the groceries by your door. You must be home at the time of the delivery.
- Due to the national emergency surrounding COVID-19 we are offering this service at no cost to everyone who may need it.
As this is a quickly generated emergency contingency plan formed by the leadership team at the Co-op with input from many facets of the community there may be some initial gaps in executions which we will work to quickly correct and rectify. Please be understanding through this process as we have never anticipated such extreme conditions.
Again, we are here to support the surrounding communities and everyone’s need for food.
Mike and the Co-op Team
March 14, 2020
As many of you have seen and experienced, the last two days have brought unprecedented times to the food industry and this community. In my 30+ years in food retail, I can only compare the current influx of food demand to a crazy combination of Thanksgiving, a blizzard, and a hurricane, all within a 48-hour period. As of today, Delaware County, Governor Wolf has extended strong COVID -19 mitigations efforts to Delaware County, and while you can depend on the Co-op continuing to be open and active as a grocery store retailer, we want to provide you with a few updates this afternoon.
- We’re Open and (mostly) Stocked –We are open for business and still have stock–although inventory is getting tight. We have milk and produce arriving today and our Meat and Seafood are fully stocked.
- Upcoming Deliveries May be Light — Notices are coming in from our distributors that our incoming orders for product will be reduced from our actual orders being placed. This is being done for two simple reasons. They want to evenly attempt to spread product through all stores they service, and they are struggling with the workforce power to meet the demands of fulfilling orders in their warehouses.
- New Precautionary Measures at the Co-op — As of today, 3/14/20, we have taken the precautionary step of eliminating the seating area in the front of the store to assist in the requests to limit gathering spaces and to create social distancing.
- Upcoming New Capacity for Home Deliveries for Our Customers Who Need It — We are also in the process of finalizing the logistics of having a systematic approach for personal shopping and home delivery for those that are feeling the need to stay home. In this process, we may call upon our owners and shoppers who have asked to help our fellow community members in need by assisting us with potential replenishment and door drop deliveries in the coming days. We are planning to communicate our plans on Sunday the 15th.
As your store, we are working as effectively as we can to continue to provide you the critical need for groceries. We ask in the coming days to help us by understanding that these new circumstances have strained our US food supply chain, and are overwhelming the system. But we are all in this together on many fronts.
Finally, we remind folks to please continue to support the Co-op. We are a quick and easy destination for everyone without the burden and fears that may arise from going to bigger box food retailers. Your team here continues to adhere to best practices and looks forward to serving your needs.
Mike and Your Co-op Team
The health and safety of our Co-op community is our highest priority. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the country, your Co-op is taking action to help protect its shoppers and our staff.
Our team is closely monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials in our area. The team will rely on their recommendations and expertise to inform our decisions.
We are taking steps to reinforce the need to maintain healthy behaviors that minimize the ability to catch or spread any virus. The actions below are the current procedures in place to assist.
- Advising all our staff to wash their hands frequently and diligently as a means to prevent the spread of any bacteria or germs.
- Placing hand sanitizer and non abrasive, disinfecting cleaning wipes throughout the store, while current supplies last, to regularly sanitize their hands, workspaces and for commonly touched areas. In addition we have hand sanitizer in the entryway of the store and additional hand sanitizing stations near the customer bathrooms.
- Asking our staff to self-report to HR and self-quarantine if they or a member of their household has visited a location in the past 30 days that the CDC considers severely impacted and/or has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
- We also provide paid sick leave that help ensure our staff can stay home to take care of illness without forfeiting needed income. In addition, we will work with employees to accommodate those who may develop a need to self-quarantine. These actions help ensure that Co-op staff stay healthy, productive, and focused on our shoppers.
As circumstances continue to develop, we will make our decisions with the health and well-being of our owners, customers, employees, and the community as a top priority.
We are grateful and appreciative for the strength and togetherness of this community.
Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.
Mike and your staff at the Co-op.