By Pat Pape
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Team members at Tiger Fuel, the heating oil and propane company based in Charlottesville, Virginia, have created and installed their own Plexiglass safety shields at the checkouts in the company’s nine The Market stores.
“We've been meeting daily to talk about things we can do to keep team members and customers safe,” said Maurice Lamarche, director of Retail Operations. “And a few weeks ago, we were able to get some plexiglass from a local hardware store before those supplies got tight.”
Barry Coleman is a Tiger Fuel heating oil and propane truck driver and a woodworker in his off hours. “He jumped right on it,” said Lamarche.
Since The Market has different store layouts, Coleman made sure the shields provided an adequate barrier between customers and cashiers at each individual POS. Chains were used to hang the shields from the ceiling, leaving about a foot of free space above the counter for store transactions.
“I’d like to say we were ahead of the game, because after we purchased the plexiglass, I saw there were a lot of [shield] outlets advertising to folks who don't have a Barry on staff,” Lamarche said. “I would recommend that folks do their research and purchase shields.”
Customers have voiced approval of the added safety measures. “We have less customers than we usually have, but those customers have to be out,” he said. “They’re an essential business or first responder, and we’re happy to be here for them.”
But Lamarche believes team members probably appreciate the shields even more. “We’re lucky to have such great team members,” he said. “We look at them as heroes under normal circumstances, but especially now. We're trying to do everything we can to protect our team members, as well as our customers.”
NACS Magazine featured Charlottesville-Virginia-area The Market stores in the July 2019 feature “School Daze and Party Trays.”
Pat Pape worked in the convenience store industry for more than 20 years before becoming a full-time writer. She writes for NACS Daily and NACS Magazine.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.