Just a few finishing touches in the aisles and Kelowna’s FreshCo will be ready to open on May 7.
It comes at a time when other stores are riddled with product shortages and many have been laid off from their jobs due to the pandemic.
Franchise owner Greg Frederick said there were two other opening dates they considered, but decided against as COVID-19 worsened.
But now is the time, he said.
“A lot of time and thought went into the opening date of the store… we felt that it was important to open up now because we need to take the pressure off other retailers and stop those lineups from happening outside the stores,” he said.
“We actually ended up employing 141 employees for our store. We have a lot of young, excited people coming to work here who have been training for the last few weeks with us to prepare for this opening.”
Before FreshCo, Frederick worked for Safeway for 20 years. He managed the downtown Kelowna branch up until his move to being a franchise owner.
“For me, it just hits home because my background is Safeway and coming to this location, I’m really excited about the offerings, and the local product and content we’re going to have for our customers, as well as the competitive prices.”
“We also have local farmers in the Okanagan that we’re teaming up with, supporting five different farms so we’re going to get those farm-fresh products into our store daily for our customers and we know that’s what they want because that’s what they’ve told us.”
Frederick added that physical distancing is very important to them. As a result, he said they’ve prepared the store to accommodate adequate spacing between customers at checkout and in the aisles. The store has floor markers to indicate where people should stand, as well as arrows to direct the flow of foot traffic. Staff will also be limiting the number of people in the store at a time.
“When they come in, people will be able to grab a sanitized cart and as they leave, we have a cart cleaning station out front, where one of our associates will clean and sanitize the carts before bringing them back in.”
The store has also partnered with the Central Okanagan Food Bank (COFB) for $2,500 worth of food. They’ll also be providing perishable produce daily towards their recycle program for local farmers.
FreshCo will have seniors only shopping from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. starting on May 8.
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