Local small grocery store offers senior shopping hour, curbside pickup for immunocompromised

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A local natural foods store will have a dedicated hour for senior shoppers and will provide curbside pickup for those who are immunocompromised during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mountain Mama near Old Colorado City has announced it is also providing seniors with special shopping hours. Though severe cases have been reported across all age groups, health experts say those over 60 and especially over 70 are particularly vulnerable to complications with COVID-19. They are also providing curbside service for immunocompromised individuals, another high-risk group.

Mountain Mama Natural Foods on the west side of Colorado Springs will hold the senior hour every Tuesday and Friday at 7 a.m. The store normally opens at 8. The owner says they might offer more days if this is popular.

"I feel like it can be very overwhelming for the senior population to get in with the hustle and bustle, so we want to give them some time of peace and quiet to try to come in and get stuff done," said Julie Sasinka, owner of the store.

Tuesday was the first day the senior shopping hour was implemented. 11 News reporter Jenna Middaugh saw one person waiting outside for the store to open at 7 a.m. and a few others trickle in shortly after.

For those with compromised immune systems, Mountain Mama said instead of coming to the senior hour, they recommend calling in an order, and they will bring it to you curbside.

“I feel like it’s safer for them,” Sasinka said.

Mountain Mama said it's seen a huge increase in customers looking for things that keep selling out at grocery chains. Staff has been able to keep most items on its shelves, despite the increased traffic.

“We have been experiencing a 2.5-3 times increase in volume of customers,” Sasinka said. “We have people repeatedly coming in saying the grocery stores are out of beans and rice or meat, chicken -- these are all common things -- toilet paper, of course, and we have been fortunate enough to pretty much have a consistent supply of all of those items.”

The boom in customers is good for business. Sasinka said she’s looking at expanding her staff of 33.

Along with the increase in customers, Mountain Mama said it’s also increasing its cleaning efforts.

“We are bleaching, bleaching -- cart handles, basket handles, lids, the credit card machine, the pens. All surfaces as often as possible,” Sasinka said.

She said Mountain Mama is taking everything one day at a time and encouraged people to check the store’s social media pages to stay up to date with the latest changes.

“We are local. We’ve been in business for 40 years,” Sasinka said. “I have a sense of pride about serving our community at this time. It has never felt so important. It’s always been important, but it feels very important. We employ local people, and all of your dollars stay in this community.”