Covid 19 – Community Request

Dear Fiesta community,

We need to ask you for a favour.

We need to ask you to temper one of the things that we both cherish most about Fiesta. The social interaction.  

Please stop socializing in the store. 

Get in and get out. Nobody gets hurt. 

Please don’t bring more people from a single household whenever possible.

Please don’t come more than once/week. We love seeing you and we know it’s comforting to shop. Still. Please do it less often. Plan and shop for at least a week at a time. Two weeks would be better.

We’re removing our “express” lane to nudge people towards fewer, bigger shops.

There will be lineups inside and outside the store.

Please maintain social distance in the lines. 

And please bring an extra dose of patience. 

Dig deep

Our observation is that 5 out of 6 people waiting in line are holding it together. Many share their gratitude and support. Right now, this means the world to us. 

That sixth person, probably anxious, understandably frustrated, likely tired, and sometimes full of great ideas, isn’t always helping. 

Please try to remember that we’re a grocery store. A hyper-customer-centric one, sure. But really just folks who order food, put it on shelves, help you find ingredients in aisles, cash customers out and carry bags to cars. Until a few weeks ago, anyway.

Nothing could have prepared us to do the same job faster, for more hours, piling on new strategies, tactics and services (security?) daily, while managing the same stress and uncertainty everyone is facing. It’s exhausting. And we’re acutely aware of our heightened exposure risk. 

No choice, really. 

So we’re digging. Trying to mentally reframe our role. To make the surreal make sense. 

You know how people are adjusting to isolation by reframing sitting on their couch as a much easier civic calling than that of previous generations who have had to go off to war? 

Us too. But our role is to come into contact with thousands of people per day. 

There’s one thing people can do to help us do this job better. Boost morale. 

Remember to smile at our staff. Share some thanks. Pretend you’re the spirit of patience. Help out a fellow customer. 

If you’re feeling anxious, these activities might just help you too.    

No matter how you slice it, we’re all in this together. That fact can work for us or against us. But we think our community is good enough for it to work in our favour.

See you in the aisles! 

COVID 19 Activities Update

Dear Fiesta Community,

What’s the latest from inside your place?

For our part, we have 4 things to share:

  1. Delivery: We’re officially taking delivery orders from customers in the neighbourhood who identify as members of a vulnerable population.
  2. Our latest tactics to protect you and our staff
  3. What you can do to help us protect the public and our team

1. Delivery

Online ordering and delivery is currently for people who:

  • Are over 70
  • Have a disability
  • Are Immunocompromised
  • Are expecting mothers

Delivery Area

This community effort is available within an approximate 2km radius of our store.

Delivery terms include:

  • Minimum 20 items. All orders must contain at least twenty items. Please check your lists/recipes twice–we can’t come back later in the day with three missing ingredients.
  • The delivery is $15 (Sorry! – We’ve had to hire staff to shop, pack and deliver)
  • Delivery is an emergency measure. If you’re a member of a vulnerable population but have other resources (e.g. friends who can shop for you), please use them so we can prioritize those most at risk.

Find process details and the order form on the delivery page!

2. In-store tactics.

Along with the measures listed in our previous Covid 19 posts, we’ve:

  • Had to significantly minimize the number of people entering the store.
  • Started removing notices. We’ve had so many notices about the behaviour we need people to respect (social distancing) that visitors became blind to them. Hopefully, a reduction overall will help the ones that remain stand out.
  • Have security (working on their charm tactics) at the front door, observing entrants for flue symptoms and asking people whether they’ve been on a flight or airport in the last 14 days.
  • Have security and managers roaming the store and gently reminding inadvertent clusters to distance
  • Suspended the Flyer until further notice. Brands aren’t offering promos at the moment so there are no savings for us to pass on. But while we’re not offering discounts, we’re also not changing our prices to capitalize on the situation. If you liked our pre-pandemic prices, you’ll still like ’em. If you didn’t, you’re still not comparing apples to apples😜.

3. What you can do.

Please minimize the number of people you bring from your household where possible.

This is a major pain point for us. We’re Italian. Procuring food together is more than a cultural tradition. It’s in our DNA. Nevertheless, for the next while, shopping should be as solitary an act as it can be. 

Please consolidate your shops

We know you love coming to the store. Isolation is hard. You suddenly have free time. Shopping is an important/useful and anxiety-reducing distraction. Living near a grocery store is one of the things that make putting up with cost of city living worthwhile. Smaller, regular shops make it easier to reduce food waste. Etc. 

All of this is true. And we can’t wait to help you get back to your food shopping values and practices. You can’t imagine how badly we want things to go back to normal.

Until they do, please cut down your shop to once per week. Two at most. We’re going to start sharing menu ideas and shopping recommendations to help you practice planning and prepping for longer visits between shops.

Have patience

Early in the pandemic, we weathered a run on the shelves. Luckily we had plenty of stock, supply was fine, and we had the energy to double down on filling the shelves.

Then we learned about social distancing, crowds came in waves, and we started crowd management measures.

Now we’re focused on helping people maintain social distance inside the store. This is creating a queue outside. A safely social distanced queue that wraps around the corner. Luckily, we’re looking at pleasant weather these days. If it rains, we’ll see if we can add cover from the Garden centre.

The good news is that right now we’re fully stocked. We’re at the mercy of suppliers, who in turn are trying to balance their distribution, so we can’t make any more promises than we would on a non-pandemic day. But as of today, we’re okay. If we can see that we’ll be receiving less of a common item, we’ll reduce the number people are allowed to buy in a single visit.

Now that most of us have time on our hands, all we need to learn is some patience, discipline, and a few new food habits, and the strain will be reduced for everyone. Yay!

Delivery now officially available for vulnerable populations in our neighbourhood.

Many of you have inquired through the website and on our social networks. We’ve been piloting it for a few days and now have a system in place thanks the work of the professionals from Best Website Hosting.

Please read the guidelines, provisos carefully and fill in the delivery form at your convenience.

Who Qualifies as vulnerable?

Delivery is currently available for people who:

  • Are over 70
  • Have a disability
  • Are Immunocompromised
  • Are expecting mothers

What do you mean by “neighbourhood”?

While the entire GTA is our neighbourhood, the delivery area at this stage is restricted to within 2KM(ish) of the store.


  • Minimum 20 items. All orders must contain at least twenty items. Please check your lists/recipes twice–we can’t come back later in the day with three missing ingredients.
  • The delivery fee is $15.
  • During the pandemic, delivery is an emergency measure. If you’re a member of a vulnerable population but have other resources (e.g. friends or family who can shop for you), please use them so we can prioritize those most at risk.


  1. Fill in the form by 1PM and you can expect delivery within 3 days (possibly sooner –🤞🏽 no promises!).
  2. You’ll receive confirmation by email that the order is being fulfilled.
  3. We’ll call you to take your credit card info
  4. We’ll deliver to your porch, at your door, your building entrance, your concierge, etc.

And here’s a link to the delivery form again.

COVID-19 – Q & A Roundup

Dear Fiesta Community,

There are a series of themes we’re identifying in the notes coming through our form system and social networks. Our tactics are changing by the hour, so here’s a centralized smattering of answers to the most common comments/questions:

Thank you Fiesta, we’re grateful!

We know, but we never get tired of hearing stories. We’re printing them and putting them up in the staff room to keep morale high so please feel free to share away.

Do you deliver?

Sort of. We’re a bricks and mortar store. We’re not set up to take orders, pack, store and deliver. But we realize that for some, we’re the only line they have on food.

We are currently handling orders for people who meet 2 criteria:

  1. Identify as members of vulnerable populations (Over 70 years old, immuno-compromised, with a disability, or are expecting mothers)
  2. Live within a two-kilometre radius of the store

And like everything, this could change in the next few days.

We’re doing our own delivery (not using Instacart/Buggy/whatever). All of your offers to deliver, pickup, etc. are greatly appreciated but create extra logistical challenges we’re not prepared to address yet. Thanks!

What are you doing to protect team members?

  • We’ve posted signs about social distancing everywhere.
  • We’ve implemented crowd control when necessary (in response to sudden waves. It’s often quite calm here).
  • Cashiers wipe down their area after every order.
  • We’re circulating the store, cleaning common areas with bleach every hour.
  • We’re wiping buggies and baskets down after each use.
  • We’re installing plexiglass at all of our cashiers’ registers.
  • Even though we’re a single store (not a regional, national, or global chain), we’ve put together a bonus to recognize our employees for the essential work they’re doing. Some chains are promoting this, but our marketing has never been about us. We’re not going change that now.

What can I do to help fellow Fiesta customers?

  • Don’t enter the store if you’re feeling sick.
  • Don’t enter the store if you’ve been out of the country in the last two weeks, please self-isolate for 14 days. Then come by!
  • Only touch foods and products you’re going to purchase. Sorry, you’ll need to eyeball that perfect item.
  • Limit your time in the store.
  • Sanitize your hands upon entry and refrain from touching your face etc.
  • While we generally love a family visit, please limit the number of people you bring with you to the people who need to be there.
  • Stay cool. We are. So please don’t judge other people, leap to any conclusions about who has a right to be here and who shouldn’t. Please observe a delicate balance of minding your business while being friendly, warm and supportive to everyone else–make a conscious choice to assume the best.

Thanks for your continued support. We can do this!

COVID-19 – Revised Store Hours

New store hours effective Sunday, March 22:

Sunday, 9 am–6 pm: Business as usual

Monday–Saturday, 9 am – 6 pm: Business as usual

Monday–Saturday, 8 am – 9 am: Open to vulnerable populations (Over 70, disabilities, expectant mothers, other high-risk members of our community)


Dear Fiesta community,

Since about March 10, when the pandemic first began to dominate our conversation, prey on our consciousness, and dictate our behaviour, we’ve been on the offensive.

People have shared their appreciation, and it put some extra fuel in our tank. We’re now running on fumes.

  • Attrition is taking its toll. We’re losing staff.
  • In addition to constant wiping, comprehensive cleaning takes 3 hours after store closing. Managers haven’t been getting home until midnight. It had to end at some point.
  • Lowered immune systems make people more susceptible to illness.

Now we’re thinking long term. We want to be able to see you through this pandemic.

We’re committed to serving vulnerable populations but we’ve changed their dedicated hours to 8 am – 9 am.

Regular business hours will follow the dedicated vulnerable populations hours and begin at 9 am and end at 6 pm until further notice.

We’ve been sanitizing and restocking relentlessly. We’ll use the extra time to do more, better. But also to squeeze in enough rest to start treating this as a marathon instead of a sprint. Frankly, leaving the store at a reasonable hour here and there should help us emotionally.

The roads are quiet. People are coming in waves. We’re not suffering from supply shortages, and we don’t expect to. Much of the strain is rooted in fear-based hoarding. Hopefully, you can use your ‘working from home’ status to come at times you don’t typically shop.

Thank you very much for all the kind words you’ve shared on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

It means a lot. Three weeks ago, we couldn’t have imagined ourselves as frontline/essential services. We’re just a neighbourhood grocery store and garden centre. But neighbours pitch in. So that’s what we’re doing.

Please stay tuned for further announcements. We meet daily to move new strategies forward and test new tactics. We’ll share any decisions that will affect you here and through our social channels.

Thanks for your understanding, patronage, and support.

See you in the aisles.