In an effort to replenish empty shelves amid the coronavirus outbreak, Santa Clarita Valley stores have implemented changes they believe will help keep the products in the hands of customers, but it will take cooperation from the shoppers.
Consumers have scrambled at both the staple and mom-and-pop grocers in search of toilet paper, bottled water, cleaning products, medicine, and perishable and dry goods, as fear of COVID-19 continues to affect everyday life.
Rest assured, however, that stores, from Costco Canyon Country to Ralphs in Valencia, are restocking every day and that there is no supply shortage, many said Tuesday.
At Trader Joe’s on Bouquet Canyon Road, for example, refilling shelves is a daily occurrence, but “we don’t have a say of is what’s coming in,” said a store employee who did not wish to provide a name. “For instance, we might have a little less on eggs on a day than the day before by a couple of cases, but every day, we do get a shipment, seven days a week.”
Similarly, local destinations such as Stater Bros., Vons, Target, Costco and smaller shops, such as Friendly Market on Sierra Highway, said they refilled every day, but what was restocked varied based on what is currently available from suppliers.
Who and how distant their suppliers are can affect how swiftly stores restock, said Lisa Anderson, a Claremont-based manufacturing and supply-chain expert and president of LMA Consulting Group Inc.
“It really very much depends on your particular supply chain,” she said Tuesday. “Certainly, overall, there’s going to be some impact. However, right now it’s more of a bullwhip effect,” meaning consumer demands can cause companies in a supply chain to order more goods to meet the new demand.
Several retailers depend on China, where COVID-19 originated, for supplies, but major, direct disruption might be too soon to tell, said Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the SCV Economic Development Corp.
“I think people are really dealing with the immediate matter at hand,” she said. “Some companies, since the China trade war, have begun moving or diversifying their supply chain but as the virus affects different countries, you don’t quite know how everything will play out, which creates a lot of uncertainty.”
In the face of uncertainty, retailers are working to control what they can, such as reducing store hours to allow for more restocking time and placing a limit on the number of items customers can purchase in one trip, in an effort to deter shoppers from hoarding.
While they restock, however, customers are asked to do their part, at least one company said Tuesday.
“Now the company is asking for help from its local communities,” Stater Bros. said in a statement. “Please refrain from purchasing items you won’t need for the coming week. Be assured we are working closely with our manufacturers and suppliers to replenish our store shelves daily.”
These efforts can help across the nation, but in the SCV with a huge community-feel presence, now’s the time to “pull together and share some resources that might go a long way,” said Anderson.
“It doesn’t mean that we should be going around standing next to everybody, but find a creative way to help someone out.”