After voluntarily shutting down for two weeks—the first in its 87-year history—Francos Wine Merchants is set to open Tuesday under a new schedule and operating model. The Elm Street mainstay’s new hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday). It’s offering free local delivery in addition to curbside service. What follows is our Q&A with Carl Franco (see additional business information at bottom).
New Canaanite: You all are known in this community well beyond the wine shop itself. So first of all, business aside, how are the Francos doing?
Carl Franco: I have received a few messages from concerned customers, but I am happy to report that the Franco family is faring well.
Talk to me about Francos Wine Merchants. What led you to the decision to close temporarily and what has brought you here?
First and foremost it was safety, as the crisis developed it became obvious that traditional retailing was no longer a safe way operate. Add to that the surge in traffic both in the store and on the phone/website that was beginning to wear on our Staff and we needed a break. Being well rested and not over-extending yourself is just as important a factor in remaining healthy as it is washing your hands.
You’re one of those local businesses that has some very familiar faces among a long-serving team of workers. How is your staff doing?
Staff also good and another reason we chose to temporarily close. Everyone here has their own family and extended family that needed help and assistance from the young to the elderly, and that has always had priority here at Francos.
What’s your read at this point about the ability of Francos to navigate the crisis?
Honestly, it’s a tough read, this crisis has gone from changing weekly, to daily, to hourly. While we have set forth our new hours and way of operating, this could change at any time. We will continue to operate as safely and responsibly as possible and decrease/increase the parameters of operation as information from our state and local government comes forward.
What is your message for customers?
Please heed all advice that we are hearing from the medical community, mostly washing hands, staying at home and maintaining social distances when we do go out. These are the only weapons we have at our disposal until a medical advances come along. I know “flatten the curve” is a phrase of which we have grown weary, but it is our best bet of coming thru this crisis with minimal cost to the community.
Francos will do its best to offer same-day delivery service for New Canaan orders received prior to 2 p.m. No orders will be delivered on Sunday/Monday. Those placed after 2 p.m. Saturday will be delivered the following Tuesday. Francos’ delivery zone for now is just New Canaan, Darien and Greenwich. Francos will do its best to get Darien-Greenwich orders delivered within 24 to 48 hours. Francos will not be accepting Cash Transactions on any orders at this time.