August 3, 2020

Gas stations supply food and tobacconists, coffee: “We must survive”



The virus causing the pandemic has caused many businesses, for survival, to reinvent themselves. Marriages of convenience proliferate, from the gas stations that subsist for their supermarkets, to groceries that have opted for the collaborative economy and tobacconists that serve coffee to go.

In a boost to local commerce, Rafael García, who runs grocer A in Aurora, in the Coruña municipality of Noia, has opted to join other establishments in the area to make home deliveries together and be able to offer the client a “more offer global “and an alternative to department stores.

“It is necessary to help each other, do favors and collaborate in order to survive in such a competitive world in which Internet shopping prevails,” García explains to Efe, adding that he cooperates with a greengrocer, a fishmonger and a butcher.

This initiative was “the result of the pandemic”, as “supermarkets collapsed in home delivery”, sometimes taking a week to ship, so “people looked for alternatives” and tried to help the trade ” closer. “

The buyer can call him or send him a wasap and also ask him for something from the butcher shop, since he will take care of it.

In addition, Rafael and his wife, Eva, have also wanted to help those establishments that had to close and have distributed more than 600 liters of milk that the hoteliers had in their stores.

In the same way, they have helped pastry shops to remove the surplus from Easter, so they have done a lot of hard work at Easter to distribute these sweets at home.

This situation has made them realize that local businesses need each other and that is why their cooperative economy method is here to stay. Now they are working on “making it a little more formal” and setting up a common phone so that neighbors can order from several businesses at the same time.

Ideas follow one another in order to survive in this crisis in which hospitality has been one of the most damaged sectors. “A packet of tobacco and a coffee to go” was the occurrence of David Padrón, who has a tobacconist in Moreiras, in the municipality of Toén in Ourense.

His small shop in this rural area usually offers two services in one: tobacco shop and cafeteria. But the declaration of the state of alarm caused his business to remain half-hearted.

“I had to open because of the tobacconist and that allowed me to serve coffee to go,” says Efe David, who indicates that this product is the only one from the bar that he could take advantage of while selling tobacco.

“Since the restrictions on the coronavirus began, we sold coffees continuously, because people used to take advantage of it and while they were coming to buy tobacco, they already carried coffee,” Padrón points out.

Although he can now serve on his terrace and, later, he can reopen the interior of his cafeteria, he believes that many of his customers will continue to prefer the take-out product, since “in a while, people still won’t dare to enter the bar and have coffee at the bar. “

The alteration has not been less in the gas stations, which have drastically reduced the sale of fuel, but many have kept their customers in stores, thanks to their alliances with supermarket chains.

This is the case of the urban gas station in As Moas, in A Coruña, which has lost 80% of fuel buyers during the state of alarm and, nevertheless, the sale in the store of food and basic necessities “has remained stable “, assures Efe the manager of the business.

This franchise markets an assortment of beverages, food, utensils for the car and hygiene products, among others.

The closure of the hospitality shops has benefited them: “The one who consumed the most in bars now here could get a coffee to go, a sandwich or a beer and take advantage and take something home.”

“That has been a bit of our sale,” explains the manager, who hopes to “return to normal” in the de-escalation with fuel and washing.

Entrepreneurs face this changing situation, as always, with creativity.

Ana González

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