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Owner, employees step up to serve

Grocery store is the only one in Oregon

Keeping Oregon’s only grocery store stocked and ready for customers during the COVID-19 pandemic has been paramount for Supervalu owner Jim Kaufman and his employees.

Kaufman, an Oregon native and resident, and his loyal staff have been making sure food items get out on shelves as soon as they are received especially following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s March 20 “stay-at-home” restrictions which started on March 21.

“We’re almost back to normal,” said a weary Kaufman on Tuesday morning as he supervised stockers. “We are fully-stocked now.”

Like everyone else in the world, Kaufman and his 50 workers saw their lives change as fear of the pandemic spread across Illinois and the nation, causing some to flood grocery stores in search of staples like eggs, milk, disinfectant wipes, and toilet paper.

On Tuesday, Kaufman said deliveries of eggs, bread and cleaning supplies were still limited.

“We’re not getting a lot of those items, but we are getting some,” he said.

Kaufman’s wife, Kim, kept customers apprised of deliveries last week via the store’s Facebook page.

Jim said his staff had unlimited overtime to keep the 27,500 square-foot store’s running at is regular hours last week. Special hours were announced over the weekend including hours for senior and high-risk customers. Changes to store hours will be posted on Facebook.

“We hired eight more people last week and we’ve been cross-training everyone,” he said.

And is he concerned about getting the coronavirus?

“It crosses my mind, but I don’t worry about it. If do, I do,” he said.

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