Any shopper who has been in a grocery store on a Sunday can attest to how busy it gets. You end up waiting at the deli counter for close to an hour, the produce section feels like a carnival game as you try to grab the best looking apples, and you can watch the milk and eggs get plucked off the shelves as if cows and chickens have gone extinct. If you walk into a grocery store any day this week you would be lucky to find any milk, eggs, or apples and you can expect a wait at the deli. COVID-19 is the direct cause of this fire sale customer traffic and while the rest of the country seems to be grinding to a halt, supermarket and discount stores are surging.

It’s not just grocers like Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wegmans Food Markets Inc. drawing in the crowds, but retailers like Lowe’s Companies Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., and Dollar Tree Stores Inc. that are bringing in customers like never before. All of these retailers have been deemed “essential retail operators”, meaning that these stores will remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak even in states that are mired by stay at home orders. While it is great to see these businesses thriving during these trying times it has not come without unique challenges. Retailers have had to adjust hours, increase sanitation, and alter delivery methods to keep up with growing demand and CDC guidelines. Retailers like Target Corporation and Trader Joe’s Co. have reserved an early hour of shopping on certain days of the week for the elderly and at risk shoppers as well. Many of these same stores have also made the decision to close an hour or two earlier. This has given employees a chance to properly sanitize the stores and reduce their potential exposure, some even going as far as to install glass windows at checkout counters.

Other retailers, such as dollar & convenience stores, have gained increased significance as customers are turning to them to find paper products and canned goods that are out of stock at traditional big box stores. Even Best Buy has become an essential retailer despite not carrying food products or traditional consumables. The outbreak has caused more companies and school systems to move to a remote work situation and this has driven up the need for requisite technology. Best Buy has seen an unprecedented sales spike in its online store and that number is only likely to increase as the company announced the closure of all its stores. Customers who order online are still able to pick up at the store through a contact-less curbside pickup option.

As items fly off of the shelves and stores face closures, businesses have had to be increasingly flexible. Supermarkets, home centers, and discount stores are at the forefront of the battle to supply consumers with the goods that they need and take precautions against the spread of the virus. People need supplies from these stores to stay healthy and working as the situation continues to develop. The demand is threatening to exceed the supply and manufacturers can help by putting essentials back on store shelves. Chain Store Guide provides suppliers with key contact information for over 6,400 companies in our Discount, Dollar, & Specialty Stores PLUS and Supermarket, Grocery & Convenience Store Chains PLUS databases combined. Act now to reach the supermarket and retail chains that need your help to keep Americans supplied during this outbreak.