Preparing for Coronavirus
Store Updates: Monday, March 23, 2020
We are currently working on a pre-order & pick-up system for our seniors and other shoppers who are in high-risk groups, but it’s not ready yet.
So, until the co-op is able to implement a call ahead shopping system, seniors and high-risk shoppers are welcome to shop with us early on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 - 9AM.
Store Updates: Friday, March 20, 2020
Outpost continues to adapt to changes happening during these unprecedented times. The following will be implemented in order to provide a consistent shopping experience for our customers, enhanced safety precautions for our staff as they work hard to stay on top of increased customer numbers, high-demand product sales and inventory management.
UPDATE: New Hours of Operation
Outpost will be CLOSED Wednesday March 25 and April 1
All Outpost store locations will close for the day to allow store staff to take the day off.
Current store hours are daily 9AM – 7PM
Effective Friday, March 20, 2020 - In-Store Updates/Changes
- CLOSED - Reverse osmosis water self-filling stations – Instead, we will be sourcing low cost gallons and 5-gallon jugs of water for purchase
- CLOSED - Self-serve bulk coffee and grinders – Pre-bagged whole bean and ground coffee is available for purchase.
- SUSPENDED – For heightened sanitation reasons, the use of reusable shopping bags and produce bags will be prohibited. Recyclable and compostable, 100% recycled content, Forest Stewardship Council certified paper shopping bags will be available for all customers.
- SUSPENDED - Special and bulk & case orders due to inconsistent product supply. We will do our best to honor all orders received as of March 19, 2020 but cannot guarantee they will be filled.
- NEW - Outpost’s Bulk Hub processing team will be prepacking our “Top 25” best-selling bulk items.
We all greatly appreciative and are sincerely impressed with the efforts of all of our workers over the past week. Outpost management and representatives from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Local 1473) are providing our workers with an additional pay premium in appreciation for the work they are doing on the front line of our business.
Additionally, we continue to support their needs by:
- Encouraging social distancing with signs & nametags – Look for friendly employee name tags encouraging social distancing
- Ordering washable face masks for all Outpost employees (note – due to demand it will take us a couple of weeks to receive these)
- Prohibiting the use of all reusable grocery shopping and produce bags to help prevent further contamination at checkout.
- Encouraging our shoppers to choose Apple Pay, credit or debit - going cashless will greatly reduce staff handling of cash
- Continuing to offer paid time off for employee health and/or care of family members
Senior & At-Risk Shopper Care
We have had a few requests that we offer special hours for seniors or those at high-risk of contracting the virus could shop. After looking at all the data we’ve found that some experts actually caution against this because of the concentration of people in one place that are at the highest risk. Additionally, the smaller size of our stores makes it a challenge to keep a large distance between shoppers.
Instead, we are working on a call-in and pick up order system for seniors and at-risk shoppers. We hope to have a system in place by next week!
Have Groceries Delivered – Instacart
We have had a few customers that are unhappy with the order fill rate through Instacart. This is a direct result of our changing supply of products and excessive stocking up by some shoppers. Every grocery retailer is struggling with it. Instacart does offer the option to pick something similar, if your favorite brand or flavor is out of stock.
NEW “Leave at My Door” delivery option - Create an account today HERE.
Wash produce with soap and water
Because COVID-19 is from a family of viruses very likely deactivated by contact with soap and water, washing your fruit and vegetables with soap and water should eliminate any live virus, says Jim Rogers, CR’s director of food safety research and testing. What's more, rubbing fruit and vegetables under running water—and scrubbing those with hard skins—can help remove pesticides.
For hard-skinned produce, scrub skins or peels with a soft-bristled vegetable brush, using dish or hand soap and warm water. For other types of produce, including leafy greens, soak in soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
But Rogers says there's no data to show that COVID-19 is spread by consuming food. "The risk of getting the virus from your food is considered low," he says.
For more information click HERE.
Store Updates: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
EFFECTIVE WEDNESDAY, March 18
BULK DEPARTMENT CLOSURE
By order of the State of Wisconsin, our bulk self-serve department is closed. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become known.
Store Updates: Monday, March 16, 2020
As part of our protocols for mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus, some of the more familiar co-op shopping options will be changing until further notice. To ensure proper implementation and product safety for all of our customers, we ask that you please follow all posted instructions when you shop.
EFFECTIVE TUESDAY, March 17
The following self-serve functions will temporarily be closed at all store locations
- All café seating areas will be temporarily closed. In-store dining will not be available.
- Self-Serve Hot Bar and Salad Bar – prepacked options will be offered from our grab n’ go case to take and enjoy at home.
- Self-Serve Bakery - Rolls, bagels, cookies and muffins will be packaged and sold from either the self-serve display case or from our bakery bins.
- Kids looking for their free Co-op Explorers Fruit can ask for help from the Customer Service Desk.
EFFECTIVE WEDNESDAY, March 18
STORE HOURS CHANGING – All stores will open at 9am and close at 7pm
- Changing up store hours will allow our staff to restock shelves, package items, conduct deep sanitation and ready the stores for business.
- Because self-service options are also changing many staff will have additional duties in other areas, and we will try our best to not impact their weekly hours/earnings.
CAFÉ CHANGES – Changes are being implemented for self-serve options
The following self-serve changes will occur in our cafés:
- Café registers will be temporarily closed until further notice.
- Hot soup and coffee will no longer be self-serve – Our café team will be happy to serve you.
- Kombucha taps will be closed temporarily – enjoy one of the many bottled kombucha flavors ready to go.
- Rather than make all juices to order we will pre-make the most popular juices and stock them in our grab and go cooler, ensuring all customers can be served quickly.
- Heat and go sandwiches, select juices and smoothies and our sliced lunchmeat program will remain full-service – ask for them from our café team.
BULK DEPARTMENT CHANGES – changes are being implemented for self-serve options
Bulk department and Bulk Herbs
- All customers will be asked to wear plastic gloves for dispensing bulk department products and herbs – look for these items at the table provided.
- After use, gloves can be disposed of in the waste can provided
- All bring-your-own bulk containers are prohibited at this time – please only use new bags for any bulk purchases.
We thank you for you continued business and keeping our co-op strong!
Store updates as of Friday, March 13, 2020
Outpost General Manager's message on novel coronavirus
Store updates as of Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Cancelled - March 21st Sampler
Due to the developing Covid-19 Coronavirus situation, we are suspending our in-store sampling event on March 21st. Additionally, we are also suspending serve-yourself sampling stations in our stores at this time.
Understanding COVID-19 - The best prevention starts with YOU!
Outpost is closely monitoring events related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The impact of COVID-19 is still to be determined.
Benjamin Franklin's famous axiom, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!" goes a long way in preparing for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Following the simple guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control will go a long way to avoid coming into contact with COVID-19.
The Center for Disease Control has put together a simple set of action steps that you can do NOW to mitigate or prevent exposure to the virus and stop the spread of germs.
Signs and Symptoms
Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
For complete information on understanding COVID-19 coronavirus, visit the Center for Disease Control
This website provides a Q & A that may be useful for you
Help! My product is out of stock!
As situations related to the the COVID-19 continue to develop, some frequently purchased items may show temporary out-of-stock at Outpost as our wholesalers work hard to equalize inventory that is negatively impacted by high volume demand in the market. We will work hard to bring you all of the products you need and apologize for any inconvenience.
In the meantime, shop the Co-op!
At Outpost we provide the following resources for customers when shopping the co-op:
- Hand sanitizer stations at all lobby cart corrals, and at places throughout the store
- Daily sanitation throughout the store continues to be emphasized and enforced
- NEW - disposable plastic gloves available upon request at Customer Service
If you find yourself sidelined at any time and cannot make it to Outpost, you can still shop the co-op online through Instacart. You have your groceries delivered to you at home and peace of mind.
Owners can order cases of products and receive a 10% discount on the case. Check with the customer service desk for more information.
Instacart has rolled out a new “Leave at My Door Delivery” feature to all customers, offering more flexibility in how you want to receive your groceries. To use the new feature, simply select “Leave at My Door Delivery” as part of your delivery options when you checkout. You’ll receive a photo confirmation from your shopper once your groceries have been delivered.
DIY Hand Sanitizer
Makes 8 ounces
The hand sanitizer you make will never be as exact as a store bought one because chemists work to control the variables that are virtually impossible to manage in a home crafting situation. Therefore, there is no way to measure the efficacy of sanitizer made at home. That said, if you decide to make your own hand sanitizer, there are some things you can do to make it better.
- Use high-quality, high concentration of aloe vera gel. Look for a high percentage of real aloe vera gel.
- Use only 99% Isopropyl “rubbing” alcohol. Lower concentrations will not be effective, and neither will vodka or other clear liquor, even if 100 proof.
- Do not use denatured alcohol
- Mix very well using sterilized equipment, so the ingredients are well blended
- Package in a very clean and sterilized container
- Use care when adding essential oils as some people are sensitive to them. You don’t need to add them, but some people prefer a light scent to mask the alcohol smell.
Hand washing is still BEST - Please remember that hand sanitizer is not meant as a substitute for thorough hand washing - a minimum 20 seconds with good old soap and water!
1/3 cup of high-quality aloe vera gel
2/3 cup 91% - 99% Isopropyl “rubbing” alcohol
8-10 drops of mild essential oil, optional like vanilla, lavender, grapefruit or peppermint
- Add all ingredients to a sterilized mixing bowl.
- Mix well with a sterilized spoon or mixer.
- Place finished product into a sterilized bottle.