Mar 13 , 2020
It has been a while since we have posted on our Blog. Moving into another busy trade show season, we've been prepping and packing and getting on the road. Just to give you a heads up: we do have a draft started on a post that is near and dear to our hearts- sustainability- spurred by a couple serendipitous events, one associated with re-opening our online store (in which our lovely Office Assistant, "The Lady Dianna" updated our recyclable materials flyer), and one a gorgeous photo post on Instagram of blossoming almond trees in central California by an old friend. This topic is so complex, and so worthy of much thought before putting to print, that it's on hold for now, while we address the big subject on all our minds: COVID-19.
As Ricky and I waited at the Laramie airport for our flight to Las Vegas for Catersource Monday afternoon, we received an email from ECRM that after much consideration and discussion, that our Food Service Week sales meetings in Vegas were to be postponed from next week, indefinitely. Then, Tuesday afternoon Randy's flight from Salt Lake City was cancelled, and he was rebooked to a later flight which had only 41 passengers. While it's always nice to have an entire row to oneself on a night flight, the reason in this case is clearly not a positive one.
Some vendors had dropped out of Catersource, attendance was lower, especially yesterday, and the entire environment here in Las Vegas has seemed more subdued than during other visits, on the heels of sports figures being IDed as positive with COVID-19 and a domino effect of sports cancellations, our President banning flights from Europe, and constant talk on TV about the virus and the politics and economics surrounding the pandemic.
Just over two weeks ago during a sales trip to Phoenix, our new broker turned to me in the car and asked, "Did you ever watch that show The Last Ship?" Two weeks later, we're closer as a world to the scenario presented in that series.
Yesterday we had an opportunity to watch Governer Hebert of Utah give a live press conference via his Facebook page and my mobile phone while we stood at our table awaiting visitors. States are closing schools, encouraging limits on large gatherings, asking people to stay home if ill. So far getting tested or treated for COVID-19 is very limited in this country- and I will contain my political comment on this and restrict my discussion to business. And this is not a forum for telling you all what to do, though these photos of empty shelves in Laramie, WY, the least populated state in the country, with only one case reported thus far, prompt me to want to rant.
For now, we will close with a bullet list of what we're doing at Gem City Fine Foods to address COVID-19, and what you can potential expect moving forward:
- Our team is programmed to wash our hands. It's a rule at the bakery. So we know how to do it and do it often.
- If a team member isn't feeling well, that team member is encouraged to stay home, and in the event the virus prevents working for a while, we will on a case-by-case basis ensure that employee doesn't have to use up PTO or go broke.
- If a team member comes to work obviously under the weather, we will make the decision to send that employee home. (Some habits attached to well meaning work ethics are hard to break and need a boost from a friend.)
- We are already seeing a need to cancel some demos. As we continue to monitor situations in areas where demos are scheduled, we will follow the lead in those areas and respond accordingly. We will note cancellations on our website Events & Specials page.
- Many conferences and trade shows around the country are being cancelled or postponed. This will affect our travel, and potentially our sponsorships of various gluten free events. However, as we are already observing, creative efforts are underway to still provide opportunities to "get together," whether online or through the mail. We will keep you posted!
No one knows how widespread COVID-19 will be, or how long our daily lives will be affected. But we can all come together over making sure that we are safe and healthy, and who knows what innovations this emergency may bring? And as long as UPS is running and our team is healthy, you can order online if you can't get to the store for that small treat that might make the day brighter.