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04/08/2020

Buehler’s Lets Customers Determine ‘Best Time to Shop’

Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
Bridget Goldschmidt profile picture
Buehler’s Lets Customers Determine ‘Best Time to Shop’
A new website feature enables Buehler's customers to choose the least busy times to go shopping, thereby limiting the number of people in a store and facilitating social distancing

Buehler’s Fresh Foods now offers “Best Time to Shop” on its website to help customers determine the busiest and slowest times at the Midwest independent supermarket chain’s stores.

By going to Buehlers.com, clicking “Best Time to Shop” and looking at the easy-to-read color charts for each Buehler’s store, customers will be able to save time and also do their part to reduce overcrowding by spreading their shopping trips out through the whole week.

Shoppers can use the charts to select a less busy time to visit Buehler’s stores, which should help to reduce the number of customers in a store at any given time. Additionally, shoppers will be able to practice social distancing more easily at less busy times.

On a weekly basis, Buehler’s will look at sales for every store for every hour and project the next week’s customer counts into three-hour segments. The grocer will then share this information on its website to help customers with their planning. The store charts show daily time segments through color coding: red for the busiest times, yellow for average, and green for the slowest shopping times.

“The state of Ohio has requested that we help space the business out by limiting the maximum number of customers allowed, posting it on our front door [and] then making sure if we hit the maximum, a queue is spaced 6 feet apart outside,” noted Dan Shanahan, CEO and president of Wooster-based Buehler’s, which operates 13 stores in the northeast Ohio market. “We applaud that request and think that in addition, Buehler’s ‘Best Time to Shop’ will help to spread the business out even further, without making people wait in line outside. Limiting business at peak times is also naturally regulated by the number of carts, hand baskets and parking spots that we have in our stores.”

Added Shanahan: “As our frontline heroes continue to keep our stores running, the safety of our employees and customers continues to be our focus. Customers are giving us positive feedback and appreciation for all that we are doing for their safety. We think they will really like checking in with ‘Best Time to Shop’ each week.”

Many other grocers, including Albertsons, Kroger, Target and Walmart, are also limiting the amount of shoppers in their stores to facilitate social distancing.

Buehler's is also allowing employees' personal carryover days from 2019 to be used anytime in 2020. Although the company's policy was amended January 2020 to include a deadline to use the personal carryover days by March 31, it's making an exception this year because it discovered that many of its employees were planning on using their personal carryover days before March 31, but couldn't because of expanded work schedules during the COVID-19 outbreak. The grocer added that in response to employee requests, it would begin providing reusable masks, as well as gloves, to associates who want them.

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