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Farmer's Building Supply

Farmer’s Building Supply Takes Small Steps Toward Normalcy

Farmer's Building Supply
An employee at Farmer’s Building Supply in Oregon works behind a plexiglass guard.

The staff at Farmer’s Building Supply in Oregon has adjusted to an array of changes since COVID-19 began spreading in the state, and implementing and then eliminating new processes have been part of the journey.

The team has worked well together to adapt while continuing to serve a growing need for the operation’s products, manager and marketing supervisor Grant Stutzman says.

“A lot of us have been living with this mentality that we’re cautious and living in caution, but not living in fear,” he says.

In March, the operation installed plexiglass windows as barriers between cashiers and customers, posted signs about social distancing and taped the floor to show shoppers where to stand to remain 6 feet apart. The staff also put hand sanitizer at the cash registers.

Some managers began deep cleaning at night after the rest of the staff went home. Others wiped down surfaces in the morning to make doubly sure employees and customers would be safe in the two stores, which are located in Grants Pass and Cave Junction, Oregon. Employees also cleaned high-touch surfaces about every hour throughout the day.

For six weeks, employees took their temperatures when they got to work and went home if they had fevers.

The state of Oregon required that each location have two employees to double check throughout the day whether workers were following cleaning and social distancing protocols, and Farmer’s Building Supply assigned supervisors at the two stores to verify that the staff was carefully following the rules.

Recently, Oregon began changing rules so residents can move back toward normal life with some adjustments. Stutzman feels confident about continuing to follow safety guidelines while slowly moving away from the rigidity of the rules implemented in March. The operation has already stopped requiring employees to take their temperatures.

“I’m sure we’ll progressively relax things. We have some employees who absolutely loathe the plexiglass,” Stutzman says. “But in the event of something like this happening again, we have a contingency plan based off of experience. We’re a lot more conscious of what can happen.”

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About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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