Grocery Store Goodness

Does grocery shopping have you nervous during the pandemic? This family is taking it personally! They’re involved every day, in every detail, of making your trip to the grocery store as safe as possible during this crisis! Here’s how it looks in-store.

Between them, they have over 150 years of experience in the grocery business, if you were to add up each sibling’s time invested. Behind them, they have the legacy that their parents began in 1955—empowering communities to take charge of their health by providing Nutrition Education and the highest quality products. In front of them is the most unprecedented public health crisis of our times—the one we’re all facing together. For the Isely family, prioritizing the health of customers and Crew is something they’ve been doing since long before COVID-19 upended life as we know it. It’s the reason for their company’s, Natural Grocers’, existence, and the principles that have guided it from its origins. Now, with new and sometimes contradictory information coming at us on an hourly basis, the Iselys want to let their neighbors know that they’re taking the wellbeing of customers and Crew personally. They’re involved every day, in every detail, of making your trip to the grocery store as safe as possible during this crisis! Here’s how it looks in-store.

Yes, to social distancing while grocery shopping—it’s NOT hard to make it easy!

Maintaining social distance during a grocery run doesn’t have to be complicated, and Natural Grocers is making it as simple as possible. It begins with a Crew that is trained on best practices for managing social distancing throughout their workday and continues with helpful signs and announcements to remind customers to maintain space while shopping. Most importantly—Natural Grocers has you covered during the most condensed period of your trip—the checkout line. Check out the steps taken to make your transactions as safe as possible.  

  • Social distancing markers: These are placed at 6 ft intervals to ensure appropriate distance is kept while waiting in line.
  • Plexiglass sneeze guards: These are installed at every register to provide a barrier between the customer and Crew.
  • Bag or box your own: Every customer is asked to bag or box your own groceries to further reduce human-to-human interactions.
  • Limits on the number of customers in store: All stores have a maximum number of customers allowed in at one time based on square footage. Additionally, all stores are complying with local mandates regarding occupancy.
  • In-store reminders: Announcements run regularly on each store’s PA system, reminding customers to maintain adequate social distancing.
  • Face Masks: All Crew will be provided with a fabric face mask, which is required to be worn unless there is a medical reason that prevents it from being worn. Masks provide another barrier between the customer and Crew.

What you can do: Follow these commonsense procedures and expert guidance.

  • Bring a list: It will make your shopping trip as efficient and painless as possible.
  • Maintain your personal space but remember: Anxiety puts unnecessary stress on the immune system, and there is a constant deluge of anxiety-inducing information flooding us all now. Perhaps the following details from the CDC Guidelines can help your grocery shopping experience be more relaxed.
  • Proximity plus time: According to the CDC, the virus is mainly spread between respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. However, another less-reported guideline from the CDC is that risk is increased by "close contact" with an infected person. Close contact is defined as being within 6 ft of that person for a prolonged period of approximately 10 minutes. While there are no guarantees and much data is yet to be analyzed, it's easy to avoid being within 6 ft of another person for 10 minutes while you’re shopping at Natural Grocers, so take a deep breath and add a bar of organic chocolate to your list.  
  • Wear a fabric face mask: Face masks are now recognized and recommended by the CDC as an important secondary measure you can take to help contain the pandemic. Additionally, some states and cities are advising everybody to wear a fabric face mask when they go shopping for groceries.

 

One of America’s cleanest grocery stores is keeping it even cleaner!

Are you concerned about cleaning your cart when you go to the store? Natural Grocers has a Crew member (wearing gloves and a fabric face mask) doing it for you, as well as additional cleaning spray and paper towels at your disposal should you need them. Plus, this grocery chain has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to cleanliness, even recently winning a spot-on Consumer Report’s list of Cleanest Grocery Stores in America. So, upgrading sanitization measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak was no big leap. Here’s what Natural Grocers is doing to keep things sanitary while you shop:  

  • Baskets and carts: The handles of baskets are cleaned after each use. Carts handles and the child seating area are cleaned after cart collections and the handle is cleaned again as each customer comes into the store. 
  • Personal items: Surfaces where customers set personal items, such as reusable bags, are cleaned before the next customer uses them.
  • Frequently touched surfaces: Payment keypads, check stands, water machine, bathrooms, door handles and other frequently touched surfaces are being cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Minimizing other sources of exposure: Areas where shoppers could more easily be exposed to cross-contamination from multiple users have been shut-down or eliminated temporarily, including kombucha stations, product testers and product demos.
  • Additional Crew and adjusted hours: Temporary Crew have been hired to help with sanitization and other essential duties, and store hours have been adjusted to ensure adequate time for a thorough cleaning before opening the next day.

What you can do: Shoppers can follow common-sense procedures as outlined by multiple experts, to protect themselves as well.

  • Wash, wash, wash your hands: When you arrive home, before you eat and generally when in doubt—wash your hands, properly, for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Carry hand sanitizer: If you can, keep it with you whenever you leave the house. We’ve provided all of our Crew with their own personal hand sanitizer.
  • Wear a face mask: All customers are asked to wear a face mask while shopping, to protect themselves and others around them.
  • Don’t touch your face: Until you have thoroughly washed your hands that is. It’s a pretty simple routine to provide a substantial amount of protection for yourself and others.

 

Face masks, gloves, and taking temps are on-trend for the safety of you and the Crew!

Natural Grocers is taking every preventive step within their power to mitigate the spread of the virus while still providing the essential service of making healthy and affordable groceries and supplements available to their communities. The following are several key provisions that the company has implemented to help achieve this:

  • Face masks are mandatory: This applies to all Crew members at Natural Grocers stores and the companies bulk re-packaging production facility unless a Crew member is medically certified unable to wear one. Fabric face masks provide an extra layer of protection for customers and Crew.
  • Homemade with expert guidance: The homemade masks are being provided to Crew members by Natural Grocers and have been made with materials and according to a pattern determined to be most protective for a homemade mask.
  • Protocols on keeping it sanitary: Crew members have received instructions on mask-wearing, glove removal, and cleaning protocols to ensure these tasks remain as sanitary as possible.
  • Gloves are available to all and required for some: Gloves are required to be worn by all cashiers and any other Crew engaged in cleaning and sanitizing around the store, as well as being available for any other Crew who wishes to use them.
  • Temperature-taking: All Crew members are asked to take their temperature before reporting to work

What you can do: Wearing a mask is now recommended by the CDC and many local governments and may eventually become mandatory. The earlier we adopt this practice, the more we will be able to flatten the curve by protecting those most at risk from catching the virus. So, grab yourself a homemade mask and join the ranks of citizens against COVID-19.

 

Yes, this neighborhood grocer has special shopping hours for seniors and customers with underlying health conditions.

On Sundays from 9 to 10 am, and Wednesdays from 8 to 9 am, there is a special hour reserved for shoppers who are at higher risk from the virus, including seniors, those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women.

What you can do: If you aren’t in a high-risk group, please respect the need for your neighbors to utilize these times dedicated to serving them.

 

This family business was founded on the principle of caring for their good4uSM Crew!

They are, indeed, heroes during this crisis—the Crew members who show up day after day to serve their communities by making sure essential supplies and healthy food are available and can be obtained in a sanitary environment! Natural Grocers has acted quickly to support their good4u Crew since the beginning of the pandemic and is continuing to update their policies as circumstances dictate. The company is well-positioned to offer additional wellness and stress support to Crew members thanks to its founding principle of Nutrition Education, and the in-house staff of nutrition experts who provide this to customers and Crew. Here are some of the things Natural Grocers is doing to support and thank the good4u Crew:

  • Immune- and stress-supporting supplements and expert tips: These supplements are provided, free of charge, to Crew daily (at their discretion). The in-house team of nutrition professionals is offering extra support to store and other essential Crew during the crisis as well.
  • Mental health support: Three free therapy sessions are available to Crew members to support mental wellbeing.
  • Raises and bonuses: All store and hourly bulk manufacturing Crew have received pay increases and discretionary bonuses.
  • Additional paid time off: Up to 2 weeks additional paid sick/quarantine time for all Crew—full-time, part-time and temp. An additional 12 weeks’ pay replacement is available via the company’s short-term disability benefit.
  • Coverage for COVID-19 related costs: Natural Grocers is covering all COVID-19 testing, diagnostic and treatment costs. Crew who currently have medical benefits through the company will not pay any out of pocket expenses for these medical expenses.
  • Opened a special medical coverage enrollment period and shortened time to qualify for medical coverage: Crew who may have opted out of medical coverage previously now have the option to opt-in and those who are recently hired have a shorter wait period to sign up.
  • The company has never penalized Crew for calling out sick: The company has always encouraged Crew to stay home when sick and has always provided paid time off to do so.

 

The Five Founding Principles of Natural Grocers are more vital now than ever and enable them to provide their communities with wellness supporting food, supplements, and expertise.

This healthy grocery chain was founded on the radical concept that everyone can be empowered to take charge of their health! Natural Grocers paves the way by providing scientifically based Nutrition Education and the highest quality products that are free of health-damaging, artificial and chemical substances. Most importantly, Natural Grocers believes in sharing the expertise of its in-house nutrition professionals at no charge to the community and making sure their groceries, supplements, and lifestyle essentials are Always AffordableSM. It’s how this family legacy began, and it’s how the Iselys and Natural Grocers are poised to offer essential support to their communities in this new normal. They’re taking your grocery shopping, in the time of coronavirus, personally so that it doesn’t need to be an anxiety-inducing experience for you.