If you’ve seen us in action, you’ll know that our little grocery store can be a hive of activity.  We’re all bustling away working on our various tasks and projects all in an effort to make our customers shopping experience the best!

So what does a day in our mostly typical (smallish) grocery store look like? I thought I’d share a simplified version of the goings on around here!

We’re open from 9 am to 9 pm every day (except Christmas!) … each morning, the earliest arriver will get here shortly after 7 am (that’s Craig, he accomplishes alot in the early hours of the day); things like building displays, checking the dates on the milk, and larger projects that are tough to fit in during the day. He does take one day a week off … so you won’t see him here on Tuesdays.

The next group arrives at 8 am.  Our opening cashier will arrive to get the store ready for business and to do administration (yuck). And our Deli, Meat and Produce staff will arrive to get their departments prepped and ready for business at 9. They’ll go through all the product in the department and get rid of anything that’s out-dated. Produce will go through the displays to make sure the product is fresh and appealing to look at, while the Deli starts cooking for the day and the Meat department will work away filling the fresh meat case.

The busiest days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  That’s when our truck comes from our major supplier … that’s The Grocery People (TGP). They are a subsidiary of Federated Co-op (so we get our largest deliveries from the Federated Co-op warehouse).  If you’ve been here on one of those days after the truck has been, you’ve no doubt seen us madly shelving the groceries … in an effort to get the boxes out of the way and the aisles clear. We have extra people here on truck days to receive the product (everything must be checked and verified), and to stock the shelves.

You may wonder why we choose to stock our shelves during the day, instead of at night like the larger stores. The reason comes down to cost.  You see our stockers also do other tasks in addition to putting groceries on the shelf. And these are things that can’t necessarily be done in the evening; like backing up for the cashier, talking to buyers and so on. If you watch them, you’ll see that they can experience many interruptions during the course of their stocking.

While everyone is working diligently on the sales floor, I’m upstairs doing Admin … like paying the bills, bookkeeping tasks and odd and ends … I don’t arrive until 10 am (thank goodness!). I think I have the easy job and everyone else thinks I have the boring job (no way!).

Our baker arrives at 10:30 am … yes that’s right, we’re a bit non-traditional here.  That’s because we want to be putting the freshly baked bread on the shelves just before our busiest time of the day. And a 10:30 arrival makes that work. He starts his day by putting the bread and buns in what is called a “proofer” … that’s a warm, humid contraption that helps the bread to rise nicely before it goes into the oven to bake. Like the other departments, he’ll check through all of the product he has out and remove anything that’s past its best-before date. Then it’s a day full of baking, stocking and prepping for the next day.

Amidst the hustling and bustling to get the store ready for business, each department will have some admin work to do … such as printing signs, making sure the costs and pricing is in the system, ordering product … and too many other things to mention. We will have extra Admin shifts to help with all the administration required by the Grocery department.

At the end of each shift, you’ll see us tidying and cleaning up to leave each department in decent shape for the next morning. Believe me, no one’s happy walking into a mess in the morning!

I suppose no discussion of a grocery store would be complete without talking about the interaction between our customers and our cashiers! Of course, that’s what our cashiers are doing most of the day. We’re lucky to have wonderful customers (and cashiers!). Many of our customers are regulars here, and come in so often, the cashiers know them by name.

We’re locking up the store at 9 pm, as I said earlier, but that doesn’t mean the work is done. The produce, has its own curtains that need to be drawn (so they get their beauty rest), there is yet more admin work(!) and tidying up; and the last of the staff will leave once the store is “put to bed”.