Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures; grocery retailers and food manufacturers have implemented such measures to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to safe food. Grocers have modified their in-store practices and suppliers have changed manufacturing processes and their supply chains to address unprecedented demand. “In Their Own Words” brings the behind-the-scenes stories to Grocery Business' readers.
Anthony Longo, president & CEO, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets
Crisis leadership initiatives
From the very beginning of COVID-19, we have created initiatives that centre around trust, transparency and doing the right thing. These are uncertain times, and we wanted to do our part to ensure our guests, Team Members and the community at large could feel safe when they shopped with us or came into work.
We believe leadership is anchored in good communication which is why we have provided regular updates on the steps we are taking to ensure our stores remain safe places to work and shop. We have been utilizing our website as a central communications tool and created a dedicated landing page that houses our policies, safety procedures,and details of confirmed COVID-19 cases. We are also making use of other platforms to provide updates, including email newsletters and Longo’s social media channels.
Though we have always maintained a high standard of safety and cleaning protocols, we have heightened these measures to include increased cleaning in stores, plexiglass dividers at checkout, and service counters, one-way aisles to encourage social distancing, markers at checkout and hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes throughout stores. Everything we implement is in accordance with CDC guidelines on sanitizing and disinfecting.
Most recently, we’ve introduced wellness screening at select stores including temperature checks for our team members and guests to ensure no one enters the store with symptoms of COVID-19.
From a personal protective equipment standpoint, we have made it mandatory across all stores for Team Members to wear masks, screens or face coverings when working. Store guests are required to wear masks when they shop with us.
Our policies continue to change as the pandemic evolves, but we remain committed to implementing proactive and progressive measures to ensure everyone's safety and health during this time.
Impact on the supply chain
At this time, we have not experienced any major issues with the supply chain but continue to monitor the situation closely and restock as frequently as possible both in store and through our online delivery service, Grocery Gateway, to ensure our guests can access the items they need.
We are fortunate to have long-standing relationships with our suppliers which helps navigate these issues and keeps us stocked up every day.
We know these are uncertain times, but we want to emphasize to our guests that currently, there is no cause for concern regarding shortage of food or goods. The supply chain remains intact, prices remain level, and we continue to get products delivered to our stores daily. We are equipped to manage these changing demands.
Your business takeaways from this experience
For over 60 years, Longo’s has made it our mission to do the right thing and give back to our communities in meaningful ways. During this pandemic it has become more evident than ever that businesses need to be putting their people first. Our team members are the heart of our company and we have prioritized their health and safety first and foremost.
We have also learned that you can never be too prepared. Though we had many systems in place to plan for these scenarios, COVID-19 has pushed us to become more creative, to think outside our boxes and to expand in ways we never thought possible.
The industry will come out very different from this pandemic, and we hope to be able to continue to rise to meet those challenges.
We are incredibly thankful for the Team Members who have stuck by us through this, and who continue to come to work willing to do their absolute best. From every level and area of our company, we are so proud to see the dedication they have shown in ensuring guests receive the same level of service they always have.