PINE TOWNSHIP – Dave Knopp has experienced a lot of changes during his 30 years in the grocery business “...but nothing comes close to the necessary measures we are taking for the coronavirus,” he said via email.
Knopp and his family own County Market in Pine Township, and they continue to take precautions and measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The first thing Knopp did was make sure the management team knew that safety and sanitation are top priority, and employees dedicated to cleaning were hired.
They sanitize “high touch areas” in addition to routine cleaning. Gloves and masks are available for all employees, who have been instructed to practice social distancing.
Plexiglass shields have been installed at the cash registers, creating a barrier between the employee and customer. Knopp thanked Steigerwald’s Kitchen and Bath of Grove City for the quick installation.
Signs reminding people about social distancing have been placed throughout the store, and purchases are limited on certain items depending on the store’s supply.
The pharmacy remains open, and the store will continue to sell wine and beer.
While some grocery stores have shortened their operating hours, County Market decided to stay open 24 hours a day.
The most-vulnerable customers told Knopp that lets them shop during the slowest times – late at night or early in the morning.
Keeping those hours also helps spread out the number of customers in the store at the same time, he added.
It’s been challenging to stay on top of recommendations for safety, and figuring out the best way to implement them.
The staff must also be on the lookout for supply issues and be prepared to immediately find new sources to keep certain items in stock, he said, adding that means customers may see different brands or sizes.
When asked who has been going above and beyond to keep things going, Knopp said it was a difficult question to answer because the entire County Market team has been great.
“So many people have been working so hard to take care of our customers,” he said.
Everyone has stepped up to serve the community, and he is very proud of them.
The community support has also been amazing, and the customers are happy and thankful that County Market is taking the necessary precautions.
“It is so uplifting to our entire team to have the customers be so kind and supportive,” Knopp said.
He encourages shoppers to wear face masks, practice social distancing, buy only what they need, and try to designate one household member to do the shopping.
County Market offers delivery through Instacart, which can be done by visiting the store’s website at gccountymarket.com and clicking on “Shop.”
The store will continue to make adjustments as needed. Knopp keeps an eye on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, supermarket associations, and other trade and government entities.
He also keeps in touch with others in the grocery industry to discuss best practices.
He wants the community to know that the staff is working hard, but they are not perfect.
Handling all of these changes has been physically and mentally difficult, especially for employees making “heroic decisions and sacrifices” like not seeing their loved ones or moving out of their family’s home.
“Your continued kindness is what keeps them going. I can’t thank this community enough. You continue to lift us up in the face of adversity,” Knopp said, referring to the customers.