Time To Get Wise – Covid Boom or Bust. The grocery business has been around a long time, but there is no need to be arcane.
I have over 35 retailers that I regularly contact to get a feel for what is happening in the market. These are regularly scheduled connections, and I thought that with the Covid virus problem facing us all that I should back off the calls. Truthfully, Keys business has almost doubled in the last month, and I am plenty busy with Keys projects and orders. So I decided not to call and mistakingly forgot to tell my group I was not going to call.
To my surprise, some of them checked-in to make sure I was okay, and they really wanted to chat. So, I quickly got off a note to all that I was okay and busy, but honestly did not want to bother them. I did have a chance to chat with a few, and most are crazy busy finding that their business has almost doubled or tripled. Most have had to alter their grocery business more back to their roots closing off the freshly prepared food and salad bars and spending their days stocking shelves. Many are frustrated and adapting to the use of InstaCart.com and other delivery services.
This is a brief story of one traditionally stable grocer who was at wit’s end. The reason I share is that I can imagine that some simple solutions are staring you in the face that you might not see.
Let’s call my grocer friend Art. He has been in the natural food business for 35 years and inherited his business from his Mom & Dad. Art was very frustrated that his business grew overnight, and he claims he cannot higher qualified people to work in the store, prep packaged food, stock, or cook. He said that his local employment agency and temporary service companies were not of any help. Art pissed me off quite a bit because he was grousing more than doing. Meaning, he was bending my ear instead of thinking. When Art stopped his tirade, I offered him a simple solution that stunned him into silence. Here is what I said.
Art, you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. You need people that understand food, customers, and how to be clean. All the restaurants in your community are closed. Their food server, cleaning staff and “back of the house” are all out of work. Call your chamber president and have him or her offer to go to the restaurant owners and offer jobs to their idle people. Simple right?
So, he emailed me this morning to say thanks and let me know that within hours, he had staffed-up with qualified people. Now he said, I need an IT person to figure out this InstaCart thing. My answer, “Don’t make me slap you!” There are furloughed IT people out there as well, and there are freelancers that know this stuff like the back of their hands. Just ask for help and stop being the victim.
So, it is time to get wise and stop the grousing. This will pass and it is your choice of how you will react and respond.