Faces of the Frontlines: Serving the community brings sense of familiarity
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In a world filled with the unknown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allison Houston has been serving more than coffee at the Starbucks Coffee kiosk inside Safeway in Steamboat Springs. She is also providing a sense of normalcy she hopes brings comfort in uncertain times.
“We’ve definitely slowed down,” said Houston, who is the department manager for the kiosk run by Safeway. “I feel like it’s good to have it open, because our customers can feel that familiarity.
“It’s nice for them to get a treat,” added Houston. “I think just to have that conversation with us every morning and to bring the normality that they need in their lives is important.”
Still, she understands why coffee, and the other items found on the Starbucks menu, may not be at the top of people’s must-have list.
“People are trying to save money and spending their money on groceries rather than the non-essential things,” Houston said. “People are staying at home or working from home. We’re not seeing that traffic throughout the town, and we’re not seeing them come into our store for coffee as much as normal.”
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Houston said she is proud that her crew has been providing a service to those who may be looking for something that will make them smile during a tough time.
“We’ve taken extra precautions to make sure that we can serve our customers in the safest way possible,” Houston said. “We had to remove cream, napkins and sugar from our coffee bar to keep everyone safe, but our staff is there to makes your coffee the way you like it.”
It’s just one of the many changes that have been made by Safeway to provide a safe environment.
“I think moving forward we’ll keep these protocols in place,” Houston said. “I would like to see that happen just because we want it to be safe for everybody. We’re just trying to limit exposure for everyone.”
Store manager Tharles Silva said his store is safer today thanks to constant cleaning of common surfaces, masks for employees and customers and the promotion of social distancing with signage and one-way aisles.
“A lot has happened in the past six weeks, and we learn as we go,” Silva said. “Every day is a new day and a new task to be implemented.”
Silva said he is proud of employees, like Houston, and many others who have stepped up during this crisis to serve the community.
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