By Pat Pape
DES MOINES, Iowa—Even before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control officially recommended that everyone wear a face mask to help fight COVID-19, the Yesway chain of Des Moines distributed masks to all employees. And then the 300-store chain took another step. It sourced customized masks for its 150 Yesway and 300 Allsup’s stores to coordinate with worker’s uniforms.
“It was a gut instinct to protect our essential team members on the front lines, and we are glad we made the move before they were required,” said Derek Gaskins, chief marketing officer, Yesway. “Our CEO, Tom Trkla, wanted something that team members would be proud to wear. The masks have logos of both Allsup’s and Yesway, as well as a call out of ‘In This Together’ to build unity. We thought it was important to show that our entire company is ‘In This Together.’”
Yesway ordered the custom masks from J&J Promotions of Marietta, Georgia. They were shipped to all stores in April, along with plastic face shields and branded hats. The face shields fit into the brim of the hats and cover the wearer’s face. The shipment also included a memo from Trkla urging a continued focus on the health and safety of employees and customers.
“We recommend employees wear them, but they are only required [to do so] in states and municipalities that require them,” Gaskins said of the masks. “Employees really appreciate them. They are uniquely designed and help us build our collective brands.”
The chain also has customers in mind, selling three-ply and KN95 masks in all outlets.
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.
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.