After nearly three months, the Vevay IGA grocery store here in Vevay will officially reopen tomorrow —Friday, May 22nd.
The store has been closed after an electrical outage led to a disagreement between owner Eric Rabe and the Switzerland County Health Department, leaving the community without access to its only full service grocery store.
Early this week Rabe announced that the store would be reopening, and that most of the employees would be returning to work who were at the store when it closed.
Throughout the week workers have been stocking shelves in preparation for tomorrow’s opening, and Rabe said that he hopes that the community will once again embrace and support the store.
Beginning with tomorrow’s opening, Rabe also announced that the Vevay IGA, in cooperation with Prairie Farms, Inc., will be giving away gallon jugs of two-percent milk to local charitable organizations for distribution to people in the community. The program is designed not only to help county residents who may be struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is also a way that the milk can be purchased from area dairy farmers who haven’t been able to find an outlet to buy their milk.
A total of 5,200 gallons of milk will be available to be distributed.
Rabe said that organizations must be a 501(c)3 organization to participate, and groups need to provide him with a copy of their certification when applying to get milk. He said that groups need to order in advance, and may do so by contacting him by phone at (859) 394-2663 or email him at email@example.com. He stressed that groups should contact him in advance so the store and Prairie Farms has enough inventory on hand to meet the order.
As he prepares to reopen the store, Rabe issued a public statement on what residents can expect beginning tomorrow:
We are very happy to announce that we will reopen the Vevay store this Friday, May 22nd at 8 a.m. We will have all the CDC guidance measures in place in the store. All associates will wear masks, the store and carts have already been treated, and that will continue throughout the pandemic. We will have directional arrows so the traffic flow will be the same for all customers as they shop the aisles, and six foot spacing markers will be in place at the checkstands We will also have limits on the number of customers that can be in the store at any given time. Because of this, we ask if possible to bring as few people shopping with you during your trip. There will also be towels and disinfectant spray bottles available for your use.
The one thing we would like you to know is that you will notice that we have no fresh beef, pork and chicken varieties in the ad that is found in this week’s newspaper. The reason is that many meat production facilities have been closed across the country and only 60-percent of the before pandemic production of fresh beef, pork and chicken is being processed today. The meat plants had very close quarter work conditions for the workers and some plants had multiple cases of the virus. The plants that closed have been treated, breaks are now staggered, and work stations are spread out to adhere to the six foot requirement. There is not a shortage of beef, chicken and pork, it’s simply a matter of product being processed. Because of the shortage of available product the prices we pay have skyrocketed. If you have the availability of locally butchered products, by all means you will save some serious dollars, but I have been told that packer houses are giving dates of early September when there are open dates.
I think that these prices will stay with us for the near term of two to three weeks and will be dropping as the plants come back on line .Our supplier has made a commitment to me that when fresh items become available that we will be first in line to receive so we will have fresh meat specials in store. Also, you have probably read or heard that retailers are putting limits on the number of fresh packages of two by item for each customer, and we may be forced to do so based on the amount of product we receive.
You will also notice that the grocery shelves will have holes around the store. Just about every major grocery manufacturer, due to the increased demand, has stopped making their slower moving items so that they can focus on the key items they sell. For example, we may carry the best five varieties of Duncan Hines cake mix and will have an empty shelf on the next five flavors. We will have ample supplies on toilet tissue and we do have a feature in our grand opening ad.
My hope is that you will continue or begin to shop at the Vevay store. My request to you is that if there is a reason you have not shopped locally at the store, that you will give me an opportunity to earn your business. Normally the big reason is that we may not carry an item you have purchased somewhere else. In most cases we can get that product in the store within three days. We receive three deliveries a week from our supplier: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my cell phone number is (859) 394-2663 .If you would like to meet me in the store and schedule an appointment please do so or if you see me in the store feel free to ask.
We humbly ask for your support of your local grocery store.
— Eric Rabe