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Unsung Heros

By John Callanan

COVID-19 first responders have no doubt earned hero status. But some others have quietly played a heroic role in supporting society during the pandemic.

It takes a true optimist to find a positive byproduct in anything having to do with the COVID-19 global pandemic. But if there is one, it’s the recognition being paid to first responders and front-line workers such as nurses, doctors, paramedics and the like. Everyone loves a hero – and this pandemic has certainly anointed more than its share.

But amid the “Thank You” signs and hospital drive-by parades celebrating the live-saving work being done by these fearless, selfless men and women, there are hundreds of thousands of people who put concerns for their own health aside to make sure the rest of us could gas up the car or bring home milk. The personal sacrifices of these essential workers allows the rest of us to maintain some semblance of a normal life.

Convenience store employees nationwide continued to go to work and took on added responsibility for keeping stores safe, sanitized and open for business when much of society was home converting to remote work and adjusting to the COVID reality. When many restaurants were closed, c-store operators managed to pivot quickly, providing some level of food-to-go during a time when options had quickly become limited.

We had a chance to talk about the impact of the pandemic on store associates with Jessica Williams, founder of Food Forward Thinking and a former executive in product development and quality assurance at Thorntons, Inc. who agrees that the c-store channel and its own front-line workers have certainly risen to the occasion in 2020.