The family owned business operating since 1946, has been here before.
Spokane, Wa – Like all American’s and local businesses, the General Store in Spokane is grappling with the rapidly changing situation and state of emergency due to the new coronavirus.
Unexpected demand of necessities like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and face masks has created local shortages of these supplies. To fill the need, staff has been forced to look outside of their usual suppliers for these products. The store is part of the ACE Hardware chain of hardware stores, known to provide reliable quality and value to customers. The drastic increase in price for high demand items has caused quite a bit of frustration from customers, especially on social media.
“Customers are pretty understanding when they come into the store and are happy to find we have what they need. But some people have been vicious on social media even after we’ve tried to explain the situation,” said Special Projects Manager Tom Barany.
While rapidly developing, amidst the business closures hardware stores like The General Store are typically deemed “essential”. Besides sourcing goods outside of normal suppliers, the store is implementing other changes in order to help customers get essential household goods and emergency supplies. This includes lowing order requirements for free delivery from $50 to a $25 minimum, offering curbside pickup, beginning a senior and vulnerable persons shopping hour from 7 to 8 am Monday through Saturday, starting Monday the 23rd, and limiting purchase quantities on high demand items.
“We’re watching closely the guidelines for retail establishments and are meeting those guidelines for sterilization, social distancing, and staffing. We want to be proactive to help our community get through the coming weeks so we’re meeting regularly for ways we can serve our customers and do it safely,” General Manager Mark McKee stated.
The General Store also operates the Argonne Ace Hardware in Spokane Valley which moving to the meet the needs of their customers, executing many of the same new guidelines and processes.
Over 60 people depend on The General Store for employment. The store has no plans to reduce staff and is devising strategies to take care of its employees through the coming weeks.
“We’ve been here before,” owner Bruce Barany said speaking of Spokane. “Over 70 years we’ve seen a lot of scary situations, but every time we come out of it. If everyone does the best we can and keep a level head, then things will turn out alright.”