Several shoppers at McCaffrey’s had an idea. Why not have a shopping hour just for seniors to enable them to buy groceries but do so in a safer environment?
The leadership of the independent, family-owned supermarket company embraced the idea, and so did staff members. On Wednesday, March 18, McCaffrey’s launched its daily senior hour, which is held from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. The parking lot was almost full for the first day.
“We received the suggestion from several members of the community and we thought it was a terrific idea,” Jim McCaffrey IV told Planet Princeton. “I struggled with asking our team members to be ready an hour early as they have been working so hard already, but we want to do all that we can to protect those most vulnerable. When I talked to our store managers, they immediately embraced the idea.”
McCaffrey’s normally offers a senior discount of 5 percent on Tuesdays. “Given that we are encouraging seniors to take advantage of the early opening to better enable social distancing, I decided to extend that discount to the first hour every morning for them. We are doing this in all 7 locations,” McCaffrey said.
One caveat — New Jersey law doesn’t allow the sale of liquor before 9 a.m. On Wednesday morning, several bottles of liquor were piled up on one of the cash registers after customers tried to buy them.
Keeping up with demand
McCaffrey said staff members have been working around the clock to keep the shelves stocked.
“Our incredible associates have engaged in a tireless effort to ensure that the communities we served have what they need during this crisis,” McCaffrey said. “They have worked very long hours to meet unprecedented demands and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I would hope that our valued customers recognize their efforts with a simple thank you next time they stop in.”
Like many other stores, McCaffrey’s is now limiting the number of certain items customers can purchase, including bleach, disinfectant sprays, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, hand soap, and rubbing alcohol, and bath tissue.
“We have asked our customers to limit their purchases on certain high demand items so that their neighbors get what they need as well,” McCaffrey said. “It has helped a bit with the demand and allowed us to play catch up to some extent.”
McCaffrey is asking customers to be patient and calm.
“The overwhelming majority of people recognize we are doing all that we can and have been terrific,” he said. “I would also like to assure everyone that the supply chain is very strong and the vast majority of items are in good supply. The main issue is trucking capacity, not supply. The wholesalers are simply not equipped to handle the volume that stores are throwing at them, but they will catch up.”