Meijer in Oak Creek on Friday. (Photo by Jonathon Sadowski)
Meijer in Oak Creek on Friday. (Photo by Jonathon Sadowski)

Altered hours and always bustling to re-stock and keep clean

[Editor’s Note: This article mentions several grocery stores but is not a full list. We would be happy to add more local stores around Wisconsin to the information at the bottom of this story. Mail us at info@upnorthnewswi.com]

As coronavirus continues to spread, grocery stores have slashed their hours or limited access during part of their business day. The off-time allows for a thorough cleaning and restocking, and the introduction of senior shopping times can protect vulnerable members of the public from the spread of coronavirus. 

But even those measures can only do so much in a city of roughly 8,000, like Jefferson, where residents’ only two options are Walmart and Piggly Wiggly.

“We’ve run out of stuff left and right,” said Alex Malicki, owner of Jefferson’s Piggly Wiggly. 

His store has not reduced hours yet and remains open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. He has reserved 6-8 a.m. as “power hours” for seniors, pregnant women, and community members vulnerable to the virus. The store’s deli, however, is now closing at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. to allow for more cleaning time.

Malicki’s Piggly Wiggly in Jefferson on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Alex Malicki)

All carts are being steam-cleaned, the phone is ringing constantly, employees are wearing gloves, and shipments are hours late as warehouses deal with increased demand. On Tuesday, a shipment finally arrived at the Pig after 11 p.m.

Often, item limits don’t matter due to the already limited stock and because people make multiple trips between Piggly Wiggly and Walmart. Malicki had set up Clorox wipes and a hand sanitizer station by the carts, but people were stealing them. Now he keeps hand sanitizer behind the counter.

“I’m falling apart, kind of just burning out a little bit more every day,” Malicki said. 

By and large, though, he said the community and his employees have been supportive and understanding of the shortages and struggles. 

“They’re very patient with it, because they understand what’s been going on,” Malicki said.

The increased demand has had some positive effects on vital businesses. Roundy’s, owner of Pick ‘N Save and Metro Market, announced Friday that it will hire 2,500 workers throughout Wisconsin, and Amazon is hiring 700 people at its Kenosha County fulfillment center. 

Malicki said he has not had to increase staff to keep up with demand because his teenage employees who are now off school are taking more hours.

Stores across the nation are reducing hours to allow for cleaning and restocking. Some big names include:

  • Aldi: Hours vary by store
  • Festival Foods: 5 a.m.-midnight
  • Meijer: Stores open 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; senior hour 7-8 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Roundy’s stores (Metro Market and Pick ‘N Save): 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Sendiks: Senior hour 7-8 a.m. daily
  • Target: Stores will open at their normal time and close no later than 9 p.m.
  • Walmart: Stores open nationally 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; senior hour 6-7 a.m. Thursdays
  • Woodman’s: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.