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Bozeman grocery store keeping aisles stocked, adapting to new "normal"

Posted at 3:38 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 17:38:37-04

A full aisle of paper towels and toilet paper at the store — a couple of months ago, this was unheard of. But now, grocery stores are getting back to operating how they did before this pandemic.

“I think things are more stable. Certainly, the stress levels have dropped,” explained Travis Frandsen, Town & Country Foods president.

Which is completely different than how things were going just 2 months ago.

“There was a lot of panic. Panic from customers, panic from employees. I think most of that falls back to the uncertainty. I think we all like to feel comfortable and know what to expect, and I think, as I’ve said, going day by day, it’s really hard to know what to expect,” Frandsen said.

While more items are now available, the store owner says this isn’t a time of preference.

“Certainly, we can get some toilet paper. If you have a specific, special brand you like, we might not always have it. But we always have toilet paper. But some of the other things: rice, beans, flour, some of those are pretty hit and miss. Some days we see them coming in. Some days we don’t,” said the store owner.

While shopping, a couple of customers had to remind themselves of the new practices and procedures.

“I often forget. It’s like oh, then I’ll realize they’re too close then I’ll step away. But I try to keep my distance,” said shopper Will Faulkner.

“We were just in the aisle and a gentleman was waiting for us to step aside,” said shopper Kaila Gill.

Stores are trying to return back to how things were before the pandemic. But there’s still a noticeable difference.

“Stopping in at the grocery store was always social. You would see friends, family, neighbors. Now, people are. They have a purpose. They are here for a job and it’s to get food and then really to get out as quick as they can. It’s just changed the atmosphere and the dynamic and honestly, it’s a little sad. We wish that we could kind of have a little bit of that old time back," Frandsen said.

At Town and Country, both employees and customers are doing their best to create a new normal that benefits both parties.

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