Darren Doyle, story:
Both a local food mart and grocery store discussed their measures for supporting each other, the community, and how their supplies and services have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during the past week.
Cee Bee Food Store in Brownsville, owned by Jeff and Cindy Rich, has been extremely busy this week as one may expect. The store announced Wednesday that it was opening later on Thursday in order to sanitize and restock the store. Instead of opening at 7am as normal, they opened at noon on yesterday, where a large crowd waited outside for the doors to be unlocked. Some supplies were limited, others not available, but most needs were met for the majority.
Cindy Rich spoke to us about the very unique circumstances.
"We are having to change our store hours to work through these times," she said. "For now, our hours will be 7am to 7pm each day. We're doing this in order to have time to keep our store clean and to stay as stocked as we possibly can. Jeff is staying in contact with our supplier and as long as those supplies are available, we'll be able to get them. Right now, there is still plenty available."
The difficult items to stock currently are ground beef, chicken, and paper products. While the hot items yesterday were meat items, a per-person limit was set to ensure everyone there in need got at least some of it. Cindy said that there were rumors that customers were fighting over items and supplies but she said those were rumors were false.
"Customers have been very understanding during these times and we appreciate that so much. We're all working together to get through this," she said.
She also wanted the public to know there would be no price gouging at Cee Bee. Their prices are set by their suppliers and she said as long as the suppliers prices stay the same, so will the store's.
"Right now, we don't see any reason for their prices to be significantly raised, it all has to do with the overall supply. Right now there is still a good supply."
Manish Patel, owner of Chalybeate Food Mart, said his business is still open during regular hours and along with gas, tobacco, and convenient store items, he is still preparing plenty of hot food items for carryout.
"We appreciate the business from our community and we are going to keep our costs low," he said. "We're even willing to take a loss on some items for our community. Our home is here, too. Yes, we want to continue to have a good business, but we also need to help our community."
Patel said just like everyone else, his store is finding it difficult to stock paper products and some bread items, but their store has a good supply of standard food mart items at the same price as always.
"Our walk-in traffic has slowed down but we are open from 5am to 9pm every day. You are welcome here. You can use our restrooms. We will not raise our prices during this time and we want our community to not just buy in our store, you need to help other local businesses, like the Cee Bee and other places. We are all the community."
When Cindy Rich was told about Patel's comments, she was very humbled.
"He's such a great guy," she said.
She also said to stay connected to Cee Bee's Facebook page for updates on certain items and other info as things may change from day-to-day.
There are obviously many other local places in the county that serve food and food items and it's important to support all of them as much as we can. One great idea that can help is to purchase gift certificates and gift cards to the businesses that have been forced to temporarily close and restaurants that are forced on carryout-only. This could be most beneficial to barber shops, hair and nail salons, and smaller retail shops within the county.
Many local churches are now starting to temporarily postpone services until more information about the spreading of COVID-19 becomes available. At first, most churches were adamantly against calling off services but that has changed over the course of a week. All non-essential businesses have been closed to the public along with county and city offices.
The Edmonson Voice is allowing any COVID-19 related announcement or ad for any business or local organization at no cost during this time. Please let us know of any changes your group, business, church, or organization needs to make and we will either publish a Community Page article or add to our VOICE Community Calendar. Please send all submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 270-597-6550.