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Bainbridge grocery stores pushed hard

Local grocery stores and their employees are hard pressed to keep up with the demand of the public, according to a telephone survey conducted this week.

They are receiving shipments in a timely fashion, but most say their orders have been reduced – some by one-half and in the case of meats, even more.

Grocery Outlet manager Tyler Ryan said this is especially true of meat and chicken.

He estimates that they may only receive a quarter of what they order, and it goes out quickly.
Their 25-30 employees are putting in long days, in spite of having shortened the store hours by an hour on each end of the day. People who work retail know that the doors may be locked at 8 p.m., but there are usually long lines of people still in the store, and only two or three cashiers. Then, once the shoppers are gone, employees still have a couple of hours of work ahead of them. All cash registers must be counted out and balanced and then comes cleaning up, stocking. Sanitizing is ongoing.

His best advice for shoppers is, “Be conservative. Only buy what you need.”

A similar situation was heard from Carla Chastain at Dixie Dandy. She says her deliveries are not on time, that they come in hours late, and their distributor is allocating the amount they receive. Her biggest shortages, in addition to paper products, are meat, potatoes, dairy products and eggs. She said eggs and milk are running short and the prices are rising.

Dixie Dandy has maintained its regular hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is offering curb side pickup. “Call ahead or Email us and we will get the order ready to be picked up,” she explains.

Pic n Sav manager Rodney Jones said his deliveries are timely, but have had cutbacks on some articles. “The manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand,” he explained. In spite of it all, he believes their prices seem to have stayed the same. He said all dairy products and produce are fully stocked, and they probably have more meat than the others. The store is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the first hour is for senior shoppers. “We are doing our best to keep people fed,” he said.

Jason Varmadore at Winn Dixie said deliveries are on time, but, again, they do not always get what they need. Their hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with 8 to 9 a.m. set aside for seniors. They do not offer curb service or home deliveries, as they do not have the staff for that, according to Varmadore.

Sean Johnson, a new manager at Bainbridge Walmart, began his first day here on Tuesday, as a transfer from Jacksonville. He said the Walmart corporation does all the ordering and he believes they are getting full orders. Store hours are currently 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, except for Tuesdays, when they open at 6 a.m. for senior shoppers. only. The store does have a pickup station inside the store. As a matter of convenience, shoppers can order online and the store will Email the customer when the order is ready. They can then pick up or can designate who will pick up the order.

Even as paper products have been the biggest shortage at Walmart and all stores, Johnson said he felt pretty good when he walked in on his first day here and saw we had toilet paper on the shelves.

The stores are extremely busy, and it may take several phone calls to get through, but they are working hard to keep us all fed, and like the man said, “Be conservative. Only buy what you need.”