Co-op Partners Warehouse (CPW) Operations Manager
What is your role at CPW?
As the Operations Manager, I oversee the warehouse workers, quality control team, inventory control and drivers. Generally, if there is a problem that someone needs help solving, it is brought to me. I also help figure out how we are going to get to new accounts or find transportation for picking up new product. In addition to my other duties, I help filling orders, receiving product and donations, and doing office tasks whenever I have a free moment.
How has business changed for CPW since the pandemic began?
In March there was a massive increase in sales that was initially very exhausting for staff. Things like potatoes, carrots, and onions were on almost every order in unprecedented quantities. Since then, business has maintained an increase but at a manageable level. We are doing far less restaurant business but have increased volume going to the stores, so our staff is just as busy if not more so.
There have been many changes made at CPW since the onset of the pandemic to keep our employees and customers safe and healthy. We transitioned our will-call to a curbside pickup model, limited foot traffic through our admin offices, installed “toe grabs” on all our doors to help people avoid touching handles, and made changes in our warehouse and delivery area to help keep everyone as safe as possible. Our procedures for food bank donations have also changed. We previously let various groups come into the warehouse and pick out the product they wanted. Now we are working with a limited number of groups that pick up much larger amounts to distribute to the community.
How has CPW met the increased demand in the grocery industry?
CPW has very good relationships with our vendors and are typically able to get product as needed. We sourced new products such as canned beans, bulk pastas and bulk rice when the panic buying was in full swing in early March. We saw a big spike in the amount of dry-goods products customers were buying due to the increased demand for things like rice, flour and dried beans. We also saw a boost in sales of healthful and functional products such as fermented foods and immunity-booster shots. Although we see some shortages as farmers pivot their operations during the pandemic, overall, we’ve been able to expand product lines and will continue to do so with a focus on obtaining new grocery items that are locally made.