[Editor’s Note: During the town emergency due to COVID-19, NewCanaanite.com is publishing a daily Q&A with a local business navigating major changes in the community.]
Carl Franco of Francos Wine Merchants on Elm Street responded to our COVID-19-related questions. Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: What has the past week been like for you and the market/wine shop?
We are seeing fewer customers thru the door and more via Internet or phone.
What changes are you seeing in customer/client behavior?
Agendas are not currently in existence so no one is rushing. We have suspended our Saturday Wine Tastings out of caution to the community.
How are you accommodating them differently, if at all?
Not an iota of difference and there never will be one. This store is very old school. Steady as she goes. But we are sanitizing counters, door handles, credit card machines throughout the day to keep things sanitary. Honestly, we have stepped up this practice since January when the flu season began to get bad.
What are your thoughts for the near future, what is your concern level regarding your business’s ability to navigate this time?
Mostly professional. Ordering merchandise and anything else that hinges on this situation or any other situation. As you see it is how you do it.
What’s your long-term view of this situation as a business owner—for example, will you need to make further changes that involve staffing levels, hours of operation and new ways to serve your customer base if the restrictions and guidelines now in place continue for a certain amount of time or are even broadened?
No staff member will be let go and if we have to close the paycheck will continue. Hours of operation have already been modestly reduced simply because train commuters have lessened. We have offered free delivery free delivery since we opened our doors in 1933, so that will not change. The phone and Internet hopefully would remain open so we probably would be the same within the context of the situation.
What is your message to customers?
We are saying our prayers along with everyone else. Otherwise we will continue to operate making adjustments in accordance with any state and local guidelines set forth.
- Here’s the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 homepage. Here’s the virus-related page on the Connecticut Department of Public Health website.
- Here’s a link to a page on the town’s website that includes information on COVID-19 and a link to sign up for New Canaan’s emergency outcall system.
- Here’s a link to the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management Facebook page.
- Here’s a landing page with information from New Canaan Public Schools on COVID-19, here’s the district’s main page for E-Learning.
- Here’s a comprehensive list of what local businesses are doing, compiled by the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, which will update its Facebook page with more listings.