Witschey’s and Galaxy Working Hard for You
Witschey’s Market in downtown New Martinsville is known for excellent customer service and dedication to the community, but this commitment has never been more evident than it has been over the past week. All of the Witchey’s staff and management have been working overtime to make sure that the people of our region continue to be served and to keep us all protected from the growing pandemic.
Last weekend, both sides of the parking lot at Witschey’s were completely full. It was all hands on deck as every employee who was available to help was called in. People were stocking up on water, eggs, milk and most of all, toilet tissue. Yet, despite the crowded aisles and quickly emptying shelves, the team at Witschey’s managed to keep the register lines moving and pull inventory from the back of the store to keep the shelves filled, all the while, constantly sanitizing the registers and carts.
There are a number of steps Witschey’s is taking to help in these uncertain times. In addition to stepping up cleaning and disinfecting the store, they are working with suppliers to ensure that the shelves will keep stocked. The shelves are stocked with water and milk. More eggs are being sourced from local farms to fill the increased demand. The bakery has upped in-house production of bread to supplement the supply that comes from outside vendors and the meat department is working hard to keep the coolers filled with the large selection of cuts you have come to expect.
Toilet paper shortages are something of an anomally. According to Rose Wichterman, General Manager of Witchey’s, the items that are being hardest hit match those that people normally buy leading up to a flood or snowstorm, but toilet paper is not normally one of those items. Wichterman believes the run on TP is primarily due to media reports of hoarding which has caused people to overreact and overbuy. She would like to assure everyone that there is more TP on the way, and to please, only buy what you will need for the next couple of weeks. They have even been looking into getting the ingredients they need to start making their own house brand of hand sanitizer.
The most important thing that Witchey’s has is it staff. They have been working overtime, many working 10-hour shifts, as many as six days a week to keep up with demand. Despite hand sanitizer being at a premium, at the onset of the rush, Witschey’s set aside a supply for internal use to help keep their staff healthy and prevent them from being a transmission vector. Additionally, employees have been given strict instructions that no matter how much they are needed at work, if they are feeling sick at all, not to report to work.
Since restaurants around WV have been closed, Witschey’s has also doubled the amount of food they prep for the hot deli to feed twice as many people as they have previously. They are making more rotisserie chickens than they ever have and are even packing up “to go” meals that people can just pick up out of the cooler and heat up at home.
In the morning hours, they have even started offering a breakfast deli menu with sausage eggs and biscuits and gravy.
Standing tall in the center of all of this is Bill Witschey. His ethic of hard work and treating people the right way shine through in these troubled times. His family has been a pillar of the local community for many years and he wants to assure all of us that the entire Witchey’s family is working hard to ensure an ample supply of all of the products we want on the shelves and a clean safe environment in which to get them.
With the ability to do online ordering at the St Marys location and taking orders over the phone in Middlebourne, Cason Edwards and his team at Galaxy Food Market have made it much easier for customers to get the groceries they need while contacting as few other people as possible. It’s even possible to pay over the phone with a credit card to eliminate any need from transacting cash.
For the most part, the shelves at both Galaxy stores are still full. The one exception to this is the paper products aisle. Here, the demand has just been too great and suppliers are having a hard time catching up. A limit of one or two for these items have helped, but the demand is still outstripping the supply.
As for the rest of the store, Mr. Edwards explained, “Our main distributor is MDI and they’ve been great to work with throughout my career as an owner. We have a few smaller distributors like food service and small warehouses but they’re all in the same boat.” However, he seemed reassured that these suppliers were working as fast as possible to catch up to the surge in demand.
In the store, hand washing is being stressed to employees. Registers, doors, and other high touch areas are repeatedly be sanitized. They are already used to running a clean opperation, but now, “we are doing everything we usually do just a lot more often.”
At Galaxy, they have upped order level to fill the shelves back up and catch up with the increase in demand. Department heads are communicating more often make sure everyone is on the same page and when it is possible to do so, items are being moved between the two stores to balance stock levels and make sure both towns are served as well as possible.