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Rural grocery store employees discuss the impact of COVID-19


CLEVER, Mo. — Many people are having to make several trips to grocery stores to find what they need or want.

In fact, shoppers from Springfield, Republic and surrounding areas are driving to smaller communities to get their groceries.

At the Apple Market in Clever, we found mostly stocked shelves eggs, milk, bread, meat and even one package of toilet paper. Items rarely seen in many stores these days. Store manager Julie Judd says they’ve been working non-stop to serve their community and surrounding areas.

“And just recently over the weekend we started having a few out of towners come in but I wouldn’t say that anybody is coming in to specifically hoard any groceries,” Judd said. “What I’m seeing is families coming in looking desperate buying cartfuls not in one item or another really to feed their family for a week.”

The store closes an hour early so that employees can sanitize all the shelves. They also stay on top of restrooms and registers.

Local customers are showing their appreciation.

“She’s been running around like a crazy person trying to keep up and help people and I just wanted to come and thank her,” shopper Jon Keats said. “It’s as simple as that.”

“Everybody has been in really good positive stories,” Judd said. “Glory be God for that we have not had any kind of tensions and fears going through our store. It’s actually quite the opposite. Our customers are coming in they are smiling. They are chit-chatting with one another from a distance. Giving thumbs from a distance.”

Judd does limit some items to one or two, not because of hoarding concerns but just to spread out the time until the next delivery comes in.

In our community of Clever, we have been very blessed to be really stocked a lot more so than some other areas.

A local churchgoer even made masks for the store employees if they wanted to use them.

This tight nit community comes together to support one another.

Grocery store employees are considered to be among the heroes during these trying times.

The manager also said there is no shortage of groceries as it may appear in some stores.

The warehouse workers are getting the supplies out to the greater Springfield area and while that’s happening sometimes the supplies get thinned out for awhile.

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