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.

Provisos

  • 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.

Process

  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 – 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.



COVID-19 – Store Hours

To help support the shopping needs of customers most vulnerable to and more acutely challenged by COVID-19, we’re introducing two temporary changes to our hours.

  1. Dedicated shopping hour for customers 70 years and older, people with a disability, expectant mothers and any other higher-risk individuals: 7:30 am to 8:30 am from Monday to Saturday (until further notice).
  2. Revised regular store opening hours 8:30 am to 9 pm from Monday to Saturday and 9 am to 7 pm Sundays (until further notice).

About the change

Dear Fiesta community,

Thank you all for being patient and supportive as we work our way through this pandemic. Your consideration is notable. And we’re pooped.

But right now, we both need to do more.

Some members of our community are at higher risk than others, so we need to take measures to ensure they can get what they need even if it makes it harder for the rest of you. Even if it means stretching our already thin reserves further.

To help support the shopping needs of customers who are at higher risk or for whom shopping is increasingly challenging, we’re offering a dedicated shopping hour for customers 70 years and older, people with a disability, expectant mothers and other higher-risk individuals.

Effective immediately, these groups will be invited into the store at 7:30 am for a dedicated shopping hour.

General public shopping hours will follow at 8:30 am and continue until 9 pm beginning Wednesday, March 18th until further notice.

The goal is to help this group:

  • Obtain essential items while shelves are stocked
  • In a less crowded environment
  • While maintaining adequate social distancing
  • And without needing to wait in long lines

We also hope that this measure can reduce some congestion over the rest of the day.

Thanks again for your patience and support. If you’d like to help us out but don’t know how we could really use a morale boost. Letters of appreciation for the staff can be shared in person, through our website form, on google or whatever social network you use.

Onward.



COVID-19 Customer Update

Dear Fiesta Community,

As you’ve likely noticed if you’ve been in the store lately, we’re doing everything in our power to run as usual, but implementing new precautions as best practices emerge.

We, like you, are reacting to policy announcements and the needs of the community as they come across the wires.

We’ll do our best to share a daily update with information about our stock, staff, and safety practices.

Until we’re told otherwise, we see ourselves as essential service providers. And in many ways, it’s business as usual. We’re stocking shelves, pointing people at products, and serving swell customers. At times, checkout lines are long, so feel free to shop at atypical times.

Here are some current status updates. If there are significant changes, we’ll let you know here and through our social networks.

Stock

We ramped up order volumes weeks ago and are still asking suppliers to multiply our orders. Many of them can respond and have. Others need to spread their supply evenly across their customers.

The goal isn’t to set people up to hoard, it’s to maintain steady supply.

Due to panic, toilet paper is hard to come by, but not because there’s a shortage. Canada has lots of trees and paper mills. There will be more toilet paper. At some point.

We have plenty of produce. We have most of everything.

We can’t commit to staying on top of special requests made by phone so if you’re after something specific, please feel free to ask a manager.

Staff

Many of our considerate customers have sent us notes through the form on the website and have asked in person about measures we’re taking to protect staff.

  • Staff are using gloves at their discretion. Some feel reassured doing so, and others feel that bare hands offer a visible reminder to clean them between activities.
  • All surfaces are wiped down between orders.
  • If anyone feels at all sick, they’re told not to come to work. Energy should be reserved for keeping immune systems healthy.
  • We’re doing our best to maintain distance.
  • Cashiers are free to call head cashier if they feel uncomfortable with a customer’s condition, no questions asked.
  • Back doors and work carts are being wiped down.

Safety

Beyond our standard safety protocols, we’re:

  • We’re regularly spraying down buggies.
  • Our cleaning crew is circulating, spraying and wiping down all surfaces and common areas.

Smiles

We often comment on the character of our customers. Regulars never hesitate to complain when they’d like something to be different–they feel like it’s their store :). People bump carts in the aisles. Some grumble, some start conversations. There can be colourful language in the parking lot. And the cycle repeats itself over and over.

But it’s worth mentioning that at this moment when all limits are stretched, people are seriously coming together. There’s so much uncertainty about what to do and how to do it well. And anxiety about how long we’ll have to do it for and how it will affect us. Not to mention concern about how many people will be adversely affected if we don’t manage the spread of this virus at a pace that our healthcare system can handle.

Please remember that we’re all in this together. We, and our friends and families all face similar uncertainly. Being kind to each other takes a bit of the edge off. Let’s keep doing it.

See you in the aisles.

Fiesta Farms