LAKEWOOD, Colo., March 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Natural Grocers has announced updated company-wide policies as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the communities which it serves. The updated guidelines include a $2 per hour pay increase for hourly employees, new store hours, a special shopping hour dedicated to vulnerable populations, and an updated return policy.
To support Natural Grocers' store and bulk manufacturing Crews and to acknowledge the vital service they are providing to the community, Natural Grocers has provided a $2 per hour pay increase effective March 23. $1 per hour will be permanent and $1 per hour will be temporary through May 3, 2020. The company has also provided two discretionary bonuses to store Crew and one to bulk manufacturing Crew that have been paid out over the last 4 weeks.
All stores will be closing at 7:05 p.m. so that the company's good4uSM Crews can restock and thoroughly clean their stores.
All stores will open at their normal posted times from Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, all stores will open at 9:00 a.m.
From 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Sundays, shopping at all stores will be exclusively for seniors (ages 60 and older), pregnant women and individuals with underlying medical conditions.
Natural Grocers will no longer accept returns of prepackaged bulk, special ordered bulk and perishable items (dairy, frozen, deli, meat and produce). Customers will be allowed one (1) return per receipt from other categories in the store (grocery, vitamins and body care). All unopened hand sanitizer will be accepted as returns through May 1, 2020.
All customers are being asked to bag or box their own groceries at checkout.
Construction teams are currently installing sneeze guards at each checkout area. The rollout has begun at Denver area stores and will be implemented across all stores within the next few weeks.
These new hours will remain in effect until further notice and apply to all 157 Natural Grocers stores located in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
"Since our parents started Natural Grocers as a door-to-door business in 1955, our family has looked to our Founding Principles to help guide our business decisions," explained Heather Isely, Natural Grocers Executive Vice President. "Over the years, those principles have proven indispensable as we navigate a changing world. This holds true now more than ever before as we make decisions about the best way to support our good4u Crew and our communities through this crisis and the related evolving directives. We stand fully committed to remaining open for our customers and to supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities and good4u Crew."
Recent critical steps that Natural Grocers has implemented amid the Coronavirus pandemic include:
Natural Grocers is providing up to 2 weeks of paid leave to all good4u Crew (both full-time and part-time) if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they are placed under mandatory quarantine by public health authorities.
Additional pay replacement may be provided for up to an additional 12 weeks under Natural Grocers' short-term disability benefit if a Crew member is unable to return to work after the initial 2 weeks.
Natural Grocers is actively hiring temporary full-time stocking and cleaning positions at all stores. To apply for the temporary stocking and cleaning positions, visit www.naturalgrocers.com/temp-work or Text "GROW" to 97211 to talk with a recruiter.
Two Grand Opening dates have been rescheduled: Green Valley Ranch, CO, previously scheduled for March 25, will now open on May 6 and Cedar City, UT, previously scheduled for April 11, will now open on June 3.
All in-store nutrition education classes, recipe demos and one-on-one health coaching sessions have been canceled through May 1.
All product samplings have been eliminated.
All on-tap Kombucha stations have been closed through May 1.
All testers have been removed and will be replaced with new ones once the pandemic has abated.
About Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC; NaturalGrocers.com) is an expanding specialty retailer of organic and natural groceries, body care products and dietary supplements. The company offers a flexible, neighborhood-store format, affordable prices and free, science-based nutrition education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. Founded in Colorado in 1955, Natural Grocers has more than 3,500 employees and operates 157 stores in 20 states.