As so many are this week, we too are reflecting back on the one year mark of the pandemic reaching Northern Michigan. None of us were prepared for life as we knew it to change overnight. Our staff went from operating a natural foods cooperative to being frontline workers. Some became part of an overnight crew so that stocking could take place at night and make room for more customers during the day.
Our administrative team joined the ranks of those able to work from home. We set policies and procedures into place at such a rapid fire pace those first few weeks and months. Each day presented new challenges that held within them the safety and well-being of staff and customers. Our staff working in the stores adjusted to and upheld these policies. They found a way each day to navigate a world that was much different than before. We closed the doors to the Grain Train Market Cafe and all of our dreams for that venture. 2020 was a very hard year.
Yet, there is much to be thankful for. Out of necessity, we started a new business with a very bright future. Our Grain Train Curbside was developed to meet the needs of our community and what it is today is only the beginning. We have a wonderful team of Grain Train employees that we have the deepest gratitude for. We keep hearing our stores are called “the safest places around to shop” due to our policies around mask wearing and other precautions. Though this has been challenging in and of itself, we are constantly working to balance customer service and safety, and we are proud to have your trust and business.
Today, as the vaccines roll out we are hopeful. We are deeply grateful to the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians for offering our staff vaccinations, and for all the support the Health Department of Northwest Michigan has provided us throughout the pandemic. These organizations shine as leaders during this time. In fact, this is what our communities are really made of—folks coming together, finding our way through harrowing and uncertain times to forge what the future will look like. We know that we can't go back, but we also know that the future is wide open.
Thank you for being a part of our Grain Train community. Thank you for wearing masks and keeping our staff and your fellow customers safe. We know that there were so many losses both big and small in the last year. Our hearts go out to all the families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. We offer them our deepest condolences.
And, as always, we look forward to seeing you in the stores or Curbside.