As shoppers across the country continue to hoard up supplies in an effort to social distance during the days of the coronavirus, one grocery chain CEO is confident the ‘storm’ has settled on all the panic buying.
Stew Leonard Jr, president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, shared that while the tri-state area chain struggled and ‘felt it for the last three or four weeks’ the bulk of the storm is ‘over right now.’
‘We’ve seen all the empty shelves that other places have had and a tough time getting supplied. There was just a huge spike like that that came up. and, right now things have settled down,’ he explained to ‘America’s Newsroom‘.
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The CEO of Stew Leonard’s shared that the chain had endured a bulk of the storm that had hit it stores over the past few weeks
He continued: ‘I’m down in our store right now. It’s a Tuesday morning. Things look normal in our stores now. Our customers today are looking for social spacing. They don’t want to stay near each other. They want to stay at least six feet away.
‘We’ve actually even put some Plexiglas up on the registers now so you aren’t directly in contact with the cashier.’
Leonard has taken extra precautions to ensure his stores are staying stocked and safe. He’s enforced a rule where an employee manned the bagel bin and is paying employees an additional $2 an hour to work through the pandemic.
Stew Leonard Jr shared that he has taken extra precautions to ensure that his stores stay stocked and safe
The CEO describes the panic shopping he endured as a ‘tremendous spike’ in demand.
‘We went from, like for instance, selling 10,000 cans of tuna fish a week. All of a sudden it went up to selling 40,000 cans of tuna fish a week. I mean you can’t quickly adjust that fast,’ he said.
‘The holidays have come. We have had Hurricane Sandy. We’ve had snowstorms. We’ve had to stock up for a lot of things. A lot of the time you’ll see a double, but you’ll very rarely see a triple or quadruple.
‘And, that put tremendous pressure on the food chain and a lot of it they couldn’t get enough drivers and trucks to deliver the food,’ he concluded.
Spot shortages are expected from panic buying but stores should be able to handle the excessive demand. Shoppers wait at a Traders Joe’s at Miami Beach
According to Morris Cohen, a professor of operations, information and decisions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, food demand in retail locations are at ‘unprecedented levels’
‘There will be spot shortages caused by panic buying,’ Cohen said
Leonard shared in a video on Friday that he was awaiting the delivery of hand sanitizers, just one of the common items stores across the country have been out of stock for weeks.
According to Morris Cohen, a professor of operations, information and decisions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, food demand in retail locations are at ‘unprecedented levels.’
‘There will be spot shortages caused by panic buying,’ he explained to CNN Business.
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Both major supermarket chains and small retailers have networks in place to react to disruptions that crop up, Cohen explained.
‘If one pathway is broken, if one link in it is severed, there are alternative paths,’ he added.
Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association, said that his members had seen an ‘astronomical’ surge in demand. He represents approximately 21,000 independently-owned grocery stores.
‘However, the shelves do have product,’ he added. ‘They are stocked. They are getting restocked on a regular basis. The supply chain in this country is very efficient and it’s very effective.’
If the pandemic persists, some companies may divert their food orders from one vendor to another. This means that food that normally goes to corporate cafeterias or colleges, could go to grocery stores.
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