How Menomonie Market Is Supporting Staff during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Saying “thank you” to our staff for the dedication they have shown during this difficult time just doesn’t feel like enough. Over the last few weeks, they have worked tirelessly to keep our store functioning as normally as possible, even though we’ve seen a huge increase in traffic, implemented brand new services, and changed several day-to-day responsibilities for many of our employees because of this outbreak.

Our cashiers have kept our checkout lines moving quickly through staffing difficulties and a higher risk of exposure, all with the same friendly, Menomonie Market Food Co-op smile. Our buyers have found creative ways to keep products coming in through a tremendous number of supply chain issues, including securing more products from local farmers and producers so we can continue supporting those right here at home. Our receiving team has kept our shelves as full as they can, including those in our bulk and produce departments, through drastic changes mandated by government orders. Our deli team has pivoted from making daily hot meals to whipping up more grab and go options than ever. And they’ve taken on the huge task of sanitizing our store multiple times per day so it remains safe for everyone. Our administrative services team has kept our bills paid and found ways to keep our payment equipment operating through occasional nationwide outages. Our marketing team has even built us a new online personal shopping service in a matter of days so we can continue serving our customers, especially those most vulnerable to this outbreak. And as always, our general manager, Crystal, has bravely and calmly guided our team through every difficult decision she’s had to make in-store as the situation has evolved—sometimes by the hour—while still keeping our team’s spirits high.

So much of the work they’ve been doing has been heroic and vital to keeping our doors open and our community fed. We are so lucky to have each and every person on our team, and we want you to know that, while we always do everything we can to support our staff, we have doubled down on all the ways we can support them during this time.

This includes:

• Scheduling staff to work a bit earlier and opening our store a bit later to allow our team members the opportunity for more social distancing while working and shopping for their own groceries

• Allowing staff to shop a half-hour before the store opens so they can get critical products for them and their loved ones

• Installing plexiglass barriers for our cashiers so they can feel safer when interacting with guests during the checkout process

• Extending our shift meal discount to more deli items so staff still has access to good food while working

• Giving out a “Hero Bonus” to team members who have worked through these crazy weeks (and we plan to continue this practice as long as our finances remain strong)

• Allowing staff to go up to two weeks into negative PTO (This was extended before the bill allowing small business support for this initiative had passed)

• Creating a wall in our staff area where they can read a roundup of the latest updates, including resources, changes, and more

• Considering ways to make work safer for our staff and to thank them in as many ways as we can

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our community, we will continue to support you, our team members, and their families as always. For the latest updates on Menomonie Market Food Co-op’s response to COVID-19, please visit this post.

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