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Grocery stores see steady holiday sales

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Hy-Vee has seen a steady stream of customers shopping for their Thanksgiving meals for the past week. Store Director Tim Flaherty said smaller turkeys have been a very popular item this year as it appears many families are foregoing large holiday gatherings.

Eight months into a global pandemic, Americans are finding more things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season. Families have spent the past few weeks preparing for a meal to share their gratitude with each other, even if their Thanksgiving dinners are going to look a little different this year.

In Fort Dodge, customers have been stocking up on the Thanksgiving dinner essentials at their local grocery stores.

“It’s been business as normal,” said Chris Palm, manager of Fareway. “This is no different than really any other holiday — there’s no mad rush, there’s no craziness. It’s kind of weird because we thought it would be a different story.”

Across town at Hy-Vee, Store Director Tim Flaherty has seen the same typical holiday grocery shopping the past few weeks.

“People are shopping for their holiday meal like they have in years past,” Flaherty said. “It’s been busy in the store, as well as Aisles Online.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert Hy-Vee shoppers pick up some last-minute Thanksgiving meal preparations on Wednesday afternoon.

Aisles Online is Hy-Vee’s online shopping curbside pickup and delivery shopping platform. Flaherty said there has been a significant increase in customers using Aisles Online to order their supplies for Thanksgiving dinner.

One thing different that both stores have seen is a decrease in sales of large turkeys meant to feed large gatherings and an increase in smaller turkeys and hams, likely because many families are opting to have smaller dinners with just household members rather than with large, extended family and friends because of concerns over COVID-19.

“Instead of people going to where there’s a big gathering and they’re looking at a 20- to 22-pound turkey, peozple are buying smaller individual items such as turkey breasts just to make for maybe a family of four or a family of two,” Flaherty said.

At Fareway, Palm has seen many 15- or 16-pound turkeys go out the door this year.

Flaherty said he still expects to see some of the last-minute holiday shoppers today that he usually sees on Thanksgiving.

“We traditionally always have people who shop the morning of, so I would assume tomorrow morning, we’ll still have the people who like going out Thanksgiving morning getting their items and preparing for a late Thanksgiving meal,” he said.

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