General Manager's message
Co-op means community
Responding to coronavirus
[March 13, 2020] Locally grown, community owned. At Outpost, these are words we live by. For close to 50 years our co-op has been a community gathering place for friends, family, and neighbors, and a place where many of our employees have made life-long friends. While the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may limit some of that gathering for a time in the upcoming days and weeks ahead, we are still here for you. We will make sure the goods and services you have grown to trust and depend on are available, to the best of our ability. And we will respond as a co-op community for those in need. Co-ops like Outpost are a trusted vital resource to the communities for which they serve. In good times, and in difficult times, too.
You have come to us in recent days to stock your pantries, replenish cleaning supplies, and prepare alongside others in the community. We welcome you. As a grocery co-op, Outpost is in the unique position of offering essential services for our local neighborhoods and communities while also doing all we can to minimize any risk to our staff, owners, shoppers and vendors.
In light of the current situation, I want to share what our co-op is doing to best serve you, care for our staff, and be a responsible member of our community:
- We have asked any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home and notify their physician. We have also given our staff who have underlying medical conditions the option to stay home to minimize any potential exposure. Our co-op has a generous personal day and vacation policy, and we are working with employees on a case-by-case basis to ensure they have the support they need.
- Hand sanitizer stations are available at all indoor cart corrals and at other places throughout the store. Wipes are available upon request at the customer service desk. Disposable plastic gloves are also available upon request at our customer service desk.
- In addition to already robust health and safety practices, following guidance from the CDC and other local, state and federal agencies, we have implemented even more rigorous cleaning practices throughout all of our stores. This includes more frequently sanitizing high-touch locations like payment machines, scales, hot bar and salad bar utensils, bathroom areas and, as mentioned above, carts and hand baskets.
- We have temporarily stopped accepting personal cups at our cafés and have ceased self-serve sampling. Staff handling ready-to-eat foods are already required to wear gloves or use tongs.
- We are working closely with our suppliers to ensure we have the essentials that you are seeking, like pantry staples, cleaning supplies, and health and body care items. Please note that with the increased demand nationwide for sanitizing products, toilet tissue and other high demand items like tinned fish, we may experience difficulty procuring them for our stores. We are working diligently to secure suppliers.
- We are making changes to our in-store promotions and have suspended promotional sampling days and self-serve sampling stations. We are still offering active food demos conducted by Outpost personnel.
- If you find yourself having to stay close to home for any length of time, you can have Outpost delivered to your door through Instacart.
- The Center for Disease Control has a website section dedicated to COVID-19. You can find the latest updates there.
- Donation bins for Hunger Task Force continue to remain in place at all of our stores. Please consider extra donations as families in need may face extra hardship with children sent home as a result of school closures. Many children rely on school provided meals to supplement their daily nutrition. Food banks may face further pressure to supply families with additional food stock. Give generously if you can. Click HERE for a guideline on what to donate.
Outpost is your community ally. We anticipate that guidance from federal, state and local agencies may change rapidly over the coming days and weeks and we continue to monitor events closely and be nimble in adjusting our operations to prioritize the health and safety of you and our staff. Stay informed about the co-op and coronavirus by visiting our website page "Preparing for Coronavirus" as well as checking our social media sites for updates and other useful information. Informational posters issued by the Center for Disease Control can be found in our stores.
All of us are grateful to our staff who continue to work each day with commitment, compassion and kindness to ensure our stores are stocked, clean and ready for your continued business. Appreciation for their dedication and service goes a long way. We cannot push through this unprecedented time without their service to the co-op and the community.
In closing, I know you have many choices when it comes to where to purchase groceries. Thank you for choosing Outpost and for being an integral part of our community.