CHICAGO — Many convenience-store chains have reacted to combat the spread of COVID-19 in their retail outlets and communities. And as the threat of the coronavirus grows, c-store distributors have also launched initiatives to help flatten the curve.
Here’s what c-store suppliers are doing to prevent the spread of the virus …
McLane Co. Inc. provided CSP Daily News with the following statement regarding its business and COVID-19:
"Our first priority is the safety of our teammates, customers and communities in which we live and work. McLane is not experiencing any major disruptions in our business, and we are providing consistent communication to our customers. All of our teams are closely monitoring government and public health agencies to assure business continuity preparedness and minimal impact to our supply-chain services."
Temple, Texas-based McLane is one of the largest supply-chain services companies in the United States, providing grocery and foodservice products for c-stores, mass merchants, drugstores and chain restaurants. The company operates more than 80 distribution centers and one of the nation’s largest private fleets. McLane buys, sells and delivers more than 50,000 consumer products to nearly 110,000 locations.
Core-Mark International Inc. is canceling all in-person trade shows scheduled between March 13 and April 30 due to COVID-19. The c-store distributor will transition to a virtual format for registered attendees who still wish to participate in the shows.
“While it is unfortunate that we must cancel some activities, we are taking these steps to ensure the health and safety of our customers, vendors and all employees involved,” said Scott McPherson, president and CEO of Core-Mark, in a statement provided to CSP Daily News. “We will continue to closely monitor this situation across our entire geographic footprint and will work with the appropriate local, state and federal agencies and other entities as the situation evolves.”
Westlake, Texas-based Core-Mark offers a variety of products, marketing programs and technologies to more than 44,000 customer locations in the United States and Canada through 32 distribution centers. Core-Mark services traditional convenience retailers, grocers, drug, liquor and specialty stores, as well as other stores that carry convenience products.
Eby-Brown's recent Expo East event in Cleveland, held in early March, was cut short by one day in response to the growing caution encouraged in light of the coronavirus.
The company has since canceled its Eby Expo Midwest, which was scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Schaumburg, Ill.
Naperville, Ill.-based Eby-Brown is the third largest wholesale consumer products distributor in the convenience industry, operating eight distribution facilities in Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that cover 20 states.
Performance Food Group Co. (PFG), the parent company of Eby-Brown, will continue to take actions to mitigate the adverse effects to, and support, its partners and clients, George Holm, chairman, president and CEO of PFG, said in a statement.
"We are closely monitoring the current market and positioning our business for the long term as all of us in the country are responding to the threat of COVID-19,” he said. “Our first priority is ensuring the health and welfare of our associates and helping our customers through this period of disruption. We continue to assess additional customer opportunities to leverage our scale and assets. Furthermore, while the full impact of COVID-19 is currently unknown, we are confident that we have ample liquidity under our debt facilities even if conditions continue to worsen.”
The company will provide additional information during its third-quarter earnings call on May 6, Holm said.
Ferrara Candy Co.
Chicago-based Ferrara Candy Co. provided CSP Daily News with the following statement regarding their business and the coronavirus:
"To date, our business has not been significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Given the fluidity of the situation, we continue to monitor it closely and follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the FDA and other relevant public health departments. Our primary focus remains on the health and well-being of our employees and partners. While our corporate employees are working remotely, we continue to operate our production facilities to maintain continuity of supply while safeguarding the health and well-being of our team members, providing them with the support they need to maintain strong business performance."
The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, has temporarily closed some international facilities and implemented plans to ensure all facilities keep employees and products safe during the coronavirus outbreak. The World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta is also temporarily closed through March 29, according to a statement from the company that was last updated on March 13.
Coca-Cola has provided alcohol wipes and hand sanitizers and installed temperature screening in certain international offices and manufacturing facilities. Some offices in China, Korea, Japan and Italy are temporarily closed. Employees in some heavily affected areas are alternating work schedules or working remotely, according to the statement.
In the United States, interactions with delivery drivers have been limited by maintaining appropriate separation and limiting the need to leave their trucks. Plants are prepared to operate in split shifts, with the appropriate distancing based on CDC guidelines.
“To ensure we continue to make our beverages available to communities in this time of need, plant-based employees in the U.S. and Canada continue to work at their locations but are following established business continuity plans to ensure their continued safety and well-being,” the company said.
RPP Products Inc., a distributor of automotive chemicals and lubricants to c-stores, has begun producing hand sanitizer to provide to help combat COVID-19. The Bloomington, Calif.-based company is producing hand sanitizer in 2-ounce, 32-ounce and 67.6-ounce bottles, all of which will arrive in c-stores and at various health service organizations, the company said.
Ready-to-drink cocktail producer Buzzballz has begun producing 59-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to help fight the pandemic, the company said in a social media post. The Carrolton, Texas-based company will continue producing the sanitizer to “help those fighting the virus,” it said.
Foodservice equipment manufacturer Alto-Shaam, Menomonee Falls, Wis., has offered various solutions to support the c-store industry during the pandemic, including easy-to-install equipment ranging from multi-cook ovens to heated holding cabinets and merchandisers.
“From bakery programs at breakfast to pizza or chicken programs at dinner—plus lunch and snacks in between—we’re dedicated to supporting c-stores in the development of food programs to help feed essential workers and everyday heroes during this time,” said Leslie Banados, vice president of national accounts for Alto-Shaam.