Grocery stores adapt to uptick in business

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WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) -- Across the nation, grocery store employees are being stretched thin due to a huge uptick in business from the coronavirus. Local stores are trying different tactics to combat this issue.

"Working from the minute you clock in to the minute you clock out, just lines aisles deep, just complete craziness," Sullivan’s Foods cashier Michael Bender said.

"We've stayed steady, overwhelmed but everybody is pitching in and stepping up like we were hoping they would," Sullivan’s Foods assistant front end manager Dora Qualls said.

Sullivan’s Foods in the village of Winnebago has seen foot traffic steadily rise due to COVID-19, and they are turning to part-time employees for extra help.

"We've been overwhelmed of course by the floor traffic from the public, part time employees have stepped up, full time employees have stepped up,” Sullivan’s Foods store manager Ryan Kessler said. “There's not much more I can say about how happy and grateful I am for all my employee's.”

Bender is a part-time cashier at Sullivan’s, he says his responsibilities have grown exponentially the past couple of weeks.

"Helping with like some janitorial stuff, the bathroom's have been dirtier getting more customers. A lot of people have been helping with stocking the shelves, not as many trucks and big loads that come in, we just need all the help we can get at this store," Bender said.

Bigger stores have turned to outside hires to bridge the gap, Walmart announced it will hire 150-thousand new employees nationwide. Midwest mainstay Schnucks says it has hired 400 new employees and plans to recruit more new team members.

"We're looking for all the help we can get right so that we can together get through these challenging times," Schnucks spokesperson Paul Simon said.