It’s a whole new world out there. Society as we knew it has changed, nearly overnight. With social distancing the new norm, things that we held dear, or maybe even took for granted, like a handshake or hug are now dangerous interactions. Even grocery shopping can be a challenge, and just a few short months ago, the reality we are facing today was just a page from a dystopian novel.

Ralph’s Thriftway
Photo courtesy: Stormans Inc.

Through the tumult, there’s one constant in our community that remains the same though, and it’s the team members at Ralph’s & Bayview Thriftway and their commitment to supplying our community with food and goods since 1944. Their adaptability and innovation continue to put groceries into the hands of those who need them, safely, swiftly and even electronically.

Ralph’s “Groceries-To-Go” service has been around for more than a decade. In fact, it may have been one of our community’s best-kept secrets with many shoppers unaware of its existence. If you’ve ever driven down State Street, you’ve likely seen the drive-up window on that side of the store. Ever wondered what it’s for? That’s Ralph’s Groceries-to-Go window.

A secret no longer, grocery pick-up has surged in popularity this past month. Ralph’s Thriftway has met the demand by expanding the hours of its curbside grocery pick-up program and has removed all service fees. In an easy-to-use system, shoppers create a virtual shopping cart via Ralph’s website and select a pick-up time Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Shop by department: Grocery, Health and Beauty, General, and Bulk Foods, and then browse the many subcategories within each to find everything you need.

Ralph’s Thriftway
Photo courtesy: Stormans Inc.

A teammate will fulfill the online shopping order and have your order ready for you in your selected pick-up time frame. On the State Street side of the building, you’ll pay at the first window, and receive your groceries at the second. It’s just like fast food. Your goods are coming fast, just healthier.

The community response has been overwhelmingly positive and appreciative, with comments on Thriftway’s social media saying “Thank you. Placed my first order. Very easy to use,” and “Thanks so much for responding to the current needs of our community,” to “Way to always be there for us!!! You guys rock!!!”

Delivering A Safe Shopping Experience

The Thriftway stores are showing up in other ways for our community, too. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve implemented a few new policies to keep their customers and team members safe to keep the food-chain flowing. (And I think we can all agree that grocery workers have been amazingly selfless and heroic throughout the pandemic. We should thank them endlessly and be extra nice!)

Ralph’s Thriftway
Plexiglass shields are now commonplace in most grocery stores, and our local Thrftways have installed them to keep workers and customers safe.
Photo courtesy: Stormans Inc.

On their website, Thriftway details the extra steps they’ve taken toward health and safety. (Read the full document here). In addition to the expansion of the online shopping program, they’ve implemented Most Vulnerable Shopping Hours which occur daily from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. for elderly shoppers and those with underlying health conditions. They’ve also designated a sanitation team to clean high-touch areas more often including cashier stations, self-checks, credit card terminals, conveyor belts, food service counters and the cleaning of shelves when restocking products. They are wiping down their shopping carts, hand baskets and equipment and sanitizing and restocking restrooms more frequently with soap and paper towels. At payment terminals and the Starbucks kiosk, they’ve installed plexiglass shields to protect workers and shoppers from one-another.

They’ve temporarily suspended refunds and the service of the salad bar, hot bar and soup counter. No personal items can be used at self-service beverage stations including suspension of the reusable bag program. In addition, the five-cent paper bag fee has been removed.

“We will continue to follow guidelines from the State of Washington and the CDC,” Thriftway says, “and assess the situation daily. We have been your trusted, local grocer for 75 years, and we will remain here for you and your family.”

Ralph’s Thriftway
1908 East 4th Avenue, Olympia
Open 24/7

Bayview Thriftway
516 4th Avenue West, Olympia
Open daily: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.


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