After 20 years working at the LDF Country Market, you would think Jeff Williams had seen it all. And then came the global pandemic—a history making event we had not experienced for 100 years.
“It’s stressful for everyone,” Jeff says. “Everyone wonders if they’re going to catch covid and how it will impact them and their loved ones.”
Jeff spends much time with family and relatives outside of work. Or, at least, he did until earlier this year when the pandemic took over.
“You start avoiding relatives with underlying health conditions for fear that you will get them sick,” Jeff says. “Now, we don’t get too close. I stop over, but we sit outside and spend time together at a distance. I hope a cure is found before the snow flies.”
Jeff and his family avoid shopping during the busiest times in stores, and they spend most of our time outdoors fishing, swimming and boating and keeping to themselves.
“The summer has not been a total loss,” Jeff says. “We’ve been getting out and enjoying the outdoors and the kids are loving it.”
In addition to changes to family life, Jeff shares he has also changed the way he goes about his day while serving the community too. As an LDF Country Market Supervisor, he’s doing his best to take steps every day to ensure elders to infants are as safe as possible when shopping at the store.
“Mask wearing is stressful to people and most agree to do it for the greater good,” Jeff says.
“It’s a big change. We are living through a notable historic moment.”
Keeping the store open and supplies available for the community is important work. Jeff acknowledges, however, that he had to overcome some of his personal concerns related to the pandemic.
“Overcoming fears to get to work daily is part of working in retail,” Jeff says. “I took some time off, but felt for my team. I came back to stand next to them in keeping the community supplied.”
People recognize the dangers and truly appreciate the work Jeff and his team do to keep them supplied with groceries. In fact, there have been some memorable moments during the pandemic. And, those feel pretty good, Jeff says.
“The most memorable moment was one of the out-of-town shoppers,” Jeff says. “An older lady says to me, ‘I wish I could shake your hand and hug you right now because I sincerely appreciate you being here to make sure I can get what I need.’ That felt good.”
Jeff recalls it took some time for shoppers to get used to mask-wearing, social-distancing, hand-sanitizing and other safety measures. But now most shoppers and our teammates are used to the safety requirements, he says.
“Nothing is perfect, but I think the safety measures taken early on during the pandemic are helping us all be safer,” Jeff says. “Sure, it might not impact 97 percent of the population. But knowing that there’s a chance you could transmit it to someone who could die? That would not be a good feeling.”