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Quad-city area stores offering some morning hours just for seniors
Informal poll at area store reflects a mixed response

Margaret Conway pulls a gallon of milk from a fully-stocked refrigerator at a local grocer on Tuesday, March 24. During the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are receiving special morning hours to do their shopping at some grocers and big-box stores. (Jesse Bertel/Courier)

Margaret Conway pulls a gallon of milk from a fully-stocked refrigerator at a local grocer on Tuesday, March 24. During the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are receiving special morning hours to do their shopping at some grocers and big-box stores. (Jesse Bertel/Courier)

Provided they are morning people, seniors looking to avoid the crowds and long lines at Tri-City area grocers and big-box stores during the COVID-19 pandemic now have an option: Go in earlier.

Granted, it’s not for everyone.

On March 23, the Fry’s stores in Prescott and Prescott Valley started offering a short window, from 6 to 7 a.m. weekdays, for seniors only to dash in and grab what they need – whether it’s a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk or a block of cheese, for example.

Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Walmart have also started to offer special senior hours, so to speak (see store hours listed below).

In an informal poll at an area grocer the morning of Tuesday, March 24, albeit later than 7 a.m., the seniors that the Courier spoke with weren’t against the idea of a standard time to do their shopping.

For many of them, though, dragging themselves out of bed around dawn isn’t their cup of tea.

Margaret Conway said she had heard from a gentleman about area grocery stores conducting senior hours, although she had yet to take advantage of them. In the 11 o’clock hour on Tuesday morning, Conway was focused on grabbing only a few items, which she toted in her hands.

“It’s an excellent idea,” Conway said about the special times for seniors. “I needed so little, so I came now. I was stocked up; I just couldn’t get eggs [on my previous trip].”

While the toilet paper aisle was barren, essentials such as milk and eggs remained plentiful.

Kris Ayers of Prescott Valley said she “sort of knew about” the senior hours, but she didn’t realize they were that early. She figured since she was taking a small trip into the store to buy chicken breast, butter and bread that she could get away with stopping by in the late morning.

“I will try [to make it at the earlier time],” she added.

Ron Ramer of Dewey made an astute observation as he strolled across the dairy aisle with his significant other, Edie. He and Edie have been testing different times of day to determine the optimum period to find what they want or need.

“I would’ve made it [during the senior hours], but the food might be out,” Ron said. “They distribute [the food on the shelves] later.”

Added Edie, “We’re kind of learning things. We went at 8 a.m. one day and it was kind of empty.”

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Ron and Edie Ramer of Dewey review their grocery lists to make sure that they have everything they need on Tuesday, March 24, at a local grocer. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder on seniors to do their shopping. (Jesse Bertel/Courier)

Sarah Massey of Prescott Valley made no bones about it: Not all older people arise from their slumber at the same time.

“I don’t get up that early; they need to make it a reasonable hour,” she said.

Nancy Goodnight of Dewey said she hadn’t heard about the senior hours, although she’d “rather be up” earlier than later in the morning. If she were waking early, Goodnight added, she would prefer doing her grocery shopping at 8 or 9 a.m.

On Tuesday she was buying essentials — bread, milk and salad — but not toilet paper, which she had stocked up on during a previous trip to another store.

Ron Skelton of Prescott Valley was a good sport about his latest grocery-shopping experience. And yet he was taking no chances — filling his cart to the brim in case the coronavirus pandemic worsens in Yavapai County.

“Things get harder and harder to get,” Skelton added. “I am making sure I have what I need for meals.”

UPDATED HOURS AT AREA GROCERS & BIG-BOX STORES DUE TO COVID-19

Senior hours noted, where applicable

Costco, Prescott: 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Senior hours: 8 to 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Fry’s, Prescott and Prescott Valley: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, until further notice.

Senior hours: 6 to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Natural Grocers, Prescott: 8:30 a.m. to 7:35 p.m. daily.

Safeway, Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Senior hours: 6 to 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Sprouts, Prescott and Prescott Valley: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, until further notice.

Trader Joe’s, Prescott: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, until further notice.

Senior hours: 9 to 10 a.m. daily.

Walmart, Prescott and Prescott Valley: 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.

Senior hours in Prescott (Highway 69 & Gail Gardner stores): 6 to 7 a.m. on Tuesdays, until further notice.

Senior hours in Prescott Valley: 6 to 7 a.m. daily, through the end of April.

Editor's Note: This story was corrected on March 25, 2020, to reflect changes to the Prescott Costco’s hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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