A few updates during a time of uncertainty for everyone.
Assistance to Those Who Need It
The store has seen an unprecedented run of consistent sales beyond anything we’ve previously experienced. With the dramatic upturn in our business, we are trying to think of those in need around the community.
On Friday the Co-op made donations in the name of our shoppers and staff to four outstanding community organizations that are on the front lines of helping people who need it. Small Things Matter, Crossroads Community Food Network, Manna Food Center and CHEER. We strongly urge anyone who wants to help to consider a cash donation to these organizations so they can provide what is needed as this situation continues to have unpredictable effects on our community.
The City of Takoma Park also has an Emergency Assistance Fund that provides financial support to income-eligible residents in crisis. Anyone who is in need of assistance can find information about the fund here. The City is accepting donations to the fund that can be made over the phone by calling 301-891-7212 during working hours.
I can’t say enough about the dedication and performance of our staff. They have done a tremendous job dealing with distributors, ordering product and getting our shelves stocked each day. They have dealt with long lines and large carts for over two weeks as cancellations and closings have accelerated throughout the region. In addition to the safety protocols we’ve put in place to support both staff and customers, the Co-op is working hard to provide for the staff who make everything possible. I am working hand and hand with our staff’s Union stewards and our management team to ensure we are proactive in our efforts.
We have instituted an employee assistance line of credit so that any employee wishing to purchase products from the store can do so without having to put any money down. Repayment of credit for any staff members who wish to take advantage will not be due until later in April, and will be spread out to ease any burden.
Employees have access to paid time off if there is any reason they are not feeling well enough to be in the store, or have other life challenges stemming from this situation. We are committed to ensuring none of our employees receive any less than their regular pay during this period. Any employee who chooses to work more than 40 hours in a work week, which is always voluntary, is compensated at the overtime rate of time and half.
We are also purchasing the staff lunches, snacks and drinks each day to show appreciation for their hard work. We have reached out to local restaurants to cater these lunches in order to support other small businesses in the area who are dealing with a loss of foot traffic. We encourage everyone to continue to support our local small businesses, many of them deliver.
We are receiving daily updates from our large distribution warehouses about product levels and out of stock items. As of now there have not been any significant disruptions to the supply chain beyond a few items like hand sanitizer. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep the store stocked to the best of our ability, given the continuity of operations from our distributors. As of this writing, we are not intending to close the store or reduce hours, so bear that in mind as you choose what to purchase each day.
Given area school closings and reduction in public transportation services starting Monday, and the need to continue to focus on increased and constant cleaning efforts as we remain open to the public, please give the store your grace. Stocking and check-out are priorities after cleaning, but the health, safety and support of our staff members is paramount and reduction in staffing levels could occur based on any number of unforeseen events. We will always do our best to try and serve our community, and take this situation one day at a time.
Thank you for your on-going support,