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Rochester residents, grocery stores thankful for holiday amid pandemic challenges

Rochester HyVee location

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Shoppers may be six feet apart inside, but there was a steady crowd all day Wednesday at the 37th Street NW Hy-Vee location in Rochester.

Grocery stores across the country packed with Thanksgiving shoppers
getting last minute items. While the grocery shopping rush is normal, the Thanksgiving table will not be.

"There's some Jell-O I guess with fruit in it that [my wife is] making," said Rochester resident Tom Haase. "That's what I had to come and get."

It has been an odd year, but the Thanksgiving menu is normal.

"Roasted sweet potatoes, stuffing, creamed peas and turkey," said resident Angie Meister.

"And then dessert," Haase said. "We got a cream pumpkin pie."

The number of people eating that feast is the biggest difference.

"A lot different. Usually we got 16 people," Haase said.

"It's a pretty small gathering, just immediate family and my in-law who have been over on a regular basis," Meister said. "We're trying to keep it kind of tight this year."

Despite those adjustments, Rochester residents are taking it in stride.

"It's so easy to get wrapped up in how things are terrible and we can't do this or we can't do that. It's like we've never been told no before," Meister said. "I'm thankful that the people I'm surrounding myself with are getting through this together and trying to find the good side of things."

The store director at Hy-Vee's 37th Street NW location is glad to have healthy and flexible employees to combat the holiday rush.

"2020 has been a very difficult year but I'm thankful for everyone that I work with. You couldn't do what we do here at Hy-Vee without the people," said director Chad Hartogh. "Our employees have done everything they've been asked over and over again. They've stepped up, made sacrifices and I'm just super thankful for them."

Hy-Vee says it's seeing an increase in to-go and delivery orders this year.

"Meal packs. Our turkey dinners for two and four have been off the charts how many order we have been getting," Hartogh said. "It's keeping us busy but we're getting people taken care of.

He also assures us safety measures have been taken inside the store.

It's definitely safe to shop here for Thanksgiving," Hartogh said. "As you can see, it's busy so we're always wiping down the carts between use, taking care of customers that way."

The state guidance in Minnesota is to celebrate only with people, including family, currently living in your household.

Alex Tejada

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