Northern Wilds Magazine
Buck’s Hardware is just one of the few stores in Grand Marais that utilizes the volunteer greeter program. | SUBMITTED
Along the Shore

Wanted: A few masked men and women

Grand Marais—It’s a busy summer in Grand Marais and nearly every business is short-staffed. Toss in the novel coronavirus pandemic and businesses must cater to not only to their customer’s needs, but also their safety. Some businesses are requiring masks and limiting the number of customers allowed inside. To do so, the businesses need a greeter at the door.

Staffing is already stretched thin, so some businesses are unable to dedicate an employee to door-greeting duties. Fortunately, that’s a role that can easily be filled by community volunteers. The use of volunteers to assist businesses began last spring, when the local grocery stores offered curbside-only service. Volunteers helped with shopping and delivering groceries to customers’ vehicles.

As summer’s throngs of visitors arrived, local resident Roger Barton reached out to local businesses to see if any could use volunteer help. He heard back from three: Joy & Company, Lake Superior Trading Post and Buck’s Hardware. They were in need of greeters.

Working with Claire Smith, Barton began developing a team of volunteers who spend three or four hours outside the store wearing a mask. They greet customers, offer hand sanitizer and make sure everyone is wearing a mask. If a store reaches its capacity, they’ll often hold customers outside the door.

The volunteer greeter program, which began in June, has attracted enough individuals to provide the stores with a few greeters. Barton says they could use a few more volunteers. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer greeter can contact him at (218) 370-9637.

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