Coronavirus: The Latest

Small grocery stores struggle to stay stocked during pandemic

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – As people wait in long lines at grocery stores and have a hard time finding some items, grocery store owners are experiencing the same problem.

Owner of VJ Grocery in San Francisco says it’s tough getting their hands on all the inventory they need.

The owner says it’s a combination of issues – deliveries to the store are short many items and wholesale stores can’t keep up with the demand from grocery outlets. 

On top of that, as soon as they stock their shelves, the items are gone again.

“I don’t want to say I feel worried but at the same time I do feel a bit anxious as to know are we going to have our product?” Tom Taptelis said.

Tom Taptelis owns VJ Grocery in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood.

Since the stay at home order, they’ve been slammed with customers and like many other grocery stores, they’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand. 

He says part of the problem is supply issues.

“The big issue that we’re having right now is getting products. Our deliveries are literally 20% short on every single thing that we receive. We would go, most store owners would go to the wholesale in Brisbane and I would say it looks like they’re closing, all of their shelves are basically empty. We have store owners getting into arguments with other store owners. Bread delivery came in one time and everybody just rushed it,” Taptelis said.

Taptelis says he’s now running back and forth to the wholesale store three to four times a day to replenish his shelves. 

Even then, he can’t get several items for weeks.

“We have semis bringing in loads and before the driver can actually off load, we have store owners going and trying to get the product off the truck,” Taptelis said.

Taptelis says it’s so bad, he had to find other sources for items like bread.

In the midst of it all, they’re also sanitizing their store and working to keep customers 6-feet apart.

“We’re wiping down the counter, the pens, I mean even our grocery bags, our products literally every 10 to 15 minutes, everything. If we get a line we’re always telling everybody ok, 6-feet apart,” Taptelis said.

While every day inside a grocery store can be overwhelming, he says they do it for the community.

“The main thing right now is just being there for the neighborhood,” Taptelis said.

It seems like they just can’t get a break.

Taptelis says his suppliers just bumped the price of milk because of the high demand.

Despite the hike in suppliers prices, he says he will not be transferring that cost onto his customers.

Latest Stories:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tracking COVID-19 in the Bay Area

Trending Stories

Latest News

More News