I’m not gonna lie: last week was a challenge. Between the new location, record sales, curbside delivery, and the thunderstorms, we really had our work cut out for us. I know there was some frustration for you as we struggled to manage traffic and keep up with everyone, but at the end of the night everyone got everything they were supposed to except for two items. Two months ago misplacing only two items would have been a celebration. Now? Seems miraculous.
We’re going to do the same system this Thursday, with a few modifications on our end to (hopefully) make it easier on you. I’ve brought in several more workers to help us organize and fill orders in the back. I made some software changes that will help us better consolidate orders before you arrive. We’re going to try to manage traffic in that pickup loop better. And I did what I could to keep the rain away. Granted, that last one wasn’t much.
The main bottleneck for us is the cold and frozen items. The veggies are easy, and we can usually get those together well in advance of your arrival. The cold stuff sits in the many giant coolers we have, and we can’t really pull things out of there until you arrive. So, last week when we took your name, that got radio’d to the back where we got your pre-packed veggie bag, and then went around collecting the cold items out of the various coolers. When you had to wait, it was generally for that. At the end of the night that’s much easier because there’s simply fewer items t look through but at 5pm, the growers have packed our coolers full and we have to hunt through piles to find the ones with your name on them. Perhaps with the extra hands this week we’ll be able to start organizing those by name before you get there, and I’ve made a few tweaks to the software to help that out.
A few things you can do:
- Don’t arrive at the beginning of your pickup window if you’ve got that flexibility. Last week we had record sales, as I mentioned, and about a third of you showed up right at 5pm. That swamped us, and we really didn’t recover until almost seven. The time you arrive has no bearing on what items you get, so take your time getting there and that’ll naturally spread things out a bit. Flatten the curve, if you will.
- I’m bad with faces as it is, and masks make it even harder to recognize you and even hear you when you give your name. Several of you had papers with your name written in big letters we could read through the window, and that was wonderful. If you think to do that same, it’ll make things even smoother.
- The Y’s pickup loop is a little odd, and when I pick my kids up from camp there (remember camps? Those were nice.) it can be a zoo. We don’t want you backing up into Hawthorne, so if you arrive faster than we can deliver orders, we may ask you to pull ahead into look and circle around. You’ll have to merge back into the line, but I promise you we’ll get everyone as fast as you can and if someone happened to arrive after you but didn’t need to make the loop so got in the line ahead of you, that won’t cause you to get fewer items than you ordered. My ask here is to be patient with us and keep in mind we’re doing what we can to keep everyone safe from both viruses and distracted drivers speeding down Hawthorne.
Finally, the Y has been holding an ongoing food drive for their pantry for members in need. If you have canned or packaged food you don’t need, feel free to bring it and we’ll give it to them.
That’s about it, really. We have had to continually adapt to changing conditions and increasing demand, and every week is better than the last. I know this week will be better yet.
- If you arrive by bike or on foot, or just want to park in the lot and get out of your car, we’ll have a place for you to walk up.
- We’ve still got three pickup windows, and it’s totally ok if you come later than the slot you chose
- We’re not accepting in-person payments unless absolutely necessary. We’ll have a drop box for checks or labelled envelopes of cash, but we greatly prefer Venmo payments to @athenslocallygrown or online payments through a card tied to your account. That last option has a 3% fee, and Venmo is free.
- We can not accept any recycling
- We cannot take your own bags or bins out of your car and fill them up
- If you’d like to go through your items before you leave to make sure you’ve got everything, or that we didn’t mix up people’s items, feel free to pull into the lot and have a look.
Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at the YMCA!