But Gary Hirsch was busier than ever, darting at a brisk pace from the back of his store to the cashier’s register as customers waited for their turn at the counter.
His store, Hirsch’s Meats, has been in business in Plano for 28 years, but never before has it seen so much business and been so underequipped to meet the demand, he said.
“We have plenty of product. We can get the product,” Hirsch said. “The problem is we’re short on staff.”
The store has had to scale back its hours even as customers form lines outside the door in the mornings—a trend Hirsch discourages for social distancing reasons. It is better for customers to come at staggered times during the day, he said.
“Everyone believes if they’re the first one at the door, they’ll avoid the rush, but they actually create a rush,” Hirsch said.
By reducing hours, Hirsch said he hopes he can avoid burning out the staff.
Hirsch said he told employees early that if they felt uncomfortable coming in to work, they could stay home. A number dropped out of the rotation right away, and every few days, another employee informs Hirsch that they can no longer come in.
“Gradually, over the last couple weeks, we lost four, five people alone,” he said. “We just lost another one yesterday. [He] said he’s not coming back until this blows over.”
Things could be much worse, Hirsch acknowledged. He said he feels fortunate to be in a class of businesses that are not losing revenue in the wake of the coronavirus closures.
Shortages of beef and other items at some local grocery stores have ensured a steady stream of customers.
But still, staffing limitations continue to be an issue.
In theory, Hirsch said he would like to hire new employees, but in practice, he does not have time to train them.
“We’re too busy,” Hirsch said. “It’s like any restaurant. If they were having Easter brunch, would they start a new employee that day? No. Not likely.”
It is not unusual to see customers make a run on meat products before certain events, like holidays or severe weather events, Hirsch said. These periods of increased traffic are usually followed by a lull in sales. But after coronavirus forced residents to stay home throughout Plano, that lull never came.
In the meantime, Hirsch is thankful to have business, he said, even though meeting the demand has placed a strain on him and his staff.
“There are a few sore backs and knees and shoulders right now,” Hirsch said. “We’re hanging in there.”
1301 W. Parker Road, Ste. 100, Plano
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.*
*These hours may have changed after this article was published. Check the website above for more information.