Food City Working On Keeping Shelves Stocked; CEO Asks Customers Not To Panic Buy Or Hoard Items

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - by Joseph Dycus
Steve Smith, Food City CEO
Steve Smith, Food City CEO

Food City CEO Steve Smith said Tuesday that Food City could stay open seven days a week for the foreseeable future. As an essential business, grocery stores such as Food City supply critical resources to citizens. However, these items are not limitless, and the CEO asked for customers to refrain from “panic buying,” assuring them that grocery stores would not run out of food.

 

“Responding to that fear is ironically the leading contributor to these shortages,” said Mr.

Smith. “We’d like to stress how critical it is for our customers not to horde items, but only to buy what you need for the coming week, and give the supply chain time to catch up with the demand.”

 

While he said Food City has always valued being a clean store, he said that like every other business, cleanliness and sanitation are of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the CEO did not address the issue of social distancing within the store.

 

“We get extremely high marks from our customers on the cleanliness of our stores,” said the CEO. “Now, we’ve redoubled our efforts because we know people are nervous. We’re going to make sure we do everything possible to ensure the buggies are clean and that surfaces that are touched often are wiped down many times a day.”

 

“There is absolutely no evidence of food or food packaging being involved in the transmission of the virus. This is not a food-borne illness, and it is not known to be transferred via food.”

 

Mr. Smith also announced that the company is changing the healthcare policies for workers., saying “We have done away with some copays if someone needs to get tested or see the doctor for a possibility of having the virus. We’ve also done away with our copay on the tele-medicine and the tele-doc, where they can do that without paying the $10 copay.”

 

Toilet paper and hand sanitizer, or the lack thereof, has been a talking point in recent weeks. Mr. Smith said that there is no way to guarantee that each customer will be able to buy those items whenever they shop, but that the company is taking steps to alleviate the problem as much as possible.

 

“I can tell you that we get toilet paper and paper towels and paper products delivered every single day to our distribution centers,” said Mr. Smith. “Now we’ve told our stores not to order paper products, sanitizer, or disinfectants. When we get those items, we will allocate those out to our stores in a fair way.”

 

The same could be said for many of the food items in the store. Mr. Smith said Food City is cutting back on providing as many flavors or types of a particular product, instead focusing on providing a standard version in bulk. Even with this new strategy, some customers may have difficulty finding certain items for an unspecified amount of time.

 

“I don’t know what challenges there will be, I know that there will,” said Mr. Smith on issues the company may face in the future. “I think you’re going to look at weeks, if not months, of challenges to get the supply chain back in order. Milk and bread are challenges because of the spikes, and we’re certainly working with every supplier we can find to keep those items in stock.”

 

Food City is also looking to other suppliers at this time to help get food into the stores. The CEO said that the company is even looking to work with suppliers who normally work with restaurants. While Mr. Smith said more and more people are shopping at grocery stores as restaurants close down during the pandemic, he said Food City will not associate with price-gouging.

 

“It’s unbelievable that people would do that at this point in time,” said Mr. Smith. “I can tell you first-hand that we’ve had some suppliers that have come to us, which we’ve never done business with, and they say they’ve got “X” or they’ve got “Y.” And we know what the market should be and if they’re not in that market, we’re going to tell them to take their product and put it somewhere else.”

 

Mr. Smith also asked for younger customers to refrain from shopping from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m in the morning, with that hour set aside for elderly customers who do not wish to shop around larger crowds.


Chattanooga Motorcar Festival Postponed Until 2021

Georgia Coronavirus Cases Increase By 3,394; 28 More Deaths

Longtime NewsChannel 9 Anchor Bob Johnson Dies


The 2020 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, originally scheduled for Oct. 16-18, has been postponed until Oct. 15-17, 2021, it was announced Tuesday . "The Chattanooga Motorcar Festival ... (click for more)

Georgia state health officials reported on Tuesday there have been 123,963 confirmed cases of coronavirus - an increase of 3,394. There have been 3,054 people in the state who have died ... (click for more)

Longtime NewsChannel 9 new anchor Bob Johnson has died after a long bout with Parkinson's disease. NewsChannel 9 officials said, "The WTVC and Sinclair Chattanooga family is saddened to announce ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Chattanooga Motorcar Festival Postponed Until 2021

The 2020 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, originally scheduled for Oct. 16-18, has been postponed until Oct. 15-17, 2021, it was announced Tuesday . "The Chattanooga Motorcar Festival began with the goal of being one of the greatest car events in America, where car lovers and their families could gather and admire the beauty of classic and historic cars," said event founder ... (click for more)

Georgia Coronavirus Cases Increase By 3,394; 28 More Deaths

Georgia state health officials reported on Tuesday there have been 123,963 confirmed cases of coronavirus - an increase of 3,394. There have been 3,054 people in the state who have died from the coronavirus - 28 more since Monday. Hospitalizations are at 13,685 - up 209 since Monday. Whitfield County has 29 new cases for a total of 1,869 and remains at 15 deaths. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Warren Mackey: Why I Will Be Voting For County Commissioner Discretionary Spending

Because I am taking the lead on the County Commission in reinstating discretionary money, I take it that a Commissioner’s comments in the Chattanoogan.Com on July 13 where he asserts that giving discretionary money is a way of currying favor with voters in the next election was aimed at me. We haven’t had discretionary money for over five years now. In spite of not having the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Gracious! It’s A Comet!

There is a once-in-a-lifetime experience going on above us and it will put any child under the age of 99 years young absolutely in awe. On March 27, a NASA spacecraft known as NEOWISE (that stands for ‘Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer) was circling planet Earth in an effort to categorize as many asteroids as possible that are non-threatening yet orbit close ... (click for more)

Sports

Limited Number Of Fans To Be Allowed In New Red Wolves Stadium, Mask Optional

The Chattanooga Red Wolves are drawing ever-closer to the start of their season, and perhaps more importantly, the debut of the new CHI Memorial Stadium. CHI Memorial doctor Mark D. Anderson was at Tuesday’s practice, and said he believed having a reduced number of fans at the game should be safe. “I don’t know exactly what the plan is for fans, but a big thing is that being ... (click for more)

Covenant Names Jenny Rohn As Head Softball Coach

After a national search, Covenant College director of athletics Dr. Tim Sceggel announced Jenny Rohn as the next head softball coach at the institution. Rohn becomes the fifth head coach in program history. She comes to Covenant with a wealth of experience at the Division I level after spending the last three years as an assistant coach at Harvard. Rohn also made ... (click for more)