Sabrina Dunning walked into the Giant Food Mart of Cuba at 5:15 p.m. Saturday prepared for the store to be busy. Not only was it the first of the month, which is usually busier than other days, but it was also the day before the Big Game.
And busy it was.
As she walked in from the employees' parking area, she noted that cars filled just about half the roughly 60 spots in the customer parking lot.
And by the end of the day, Dunning had about $1,500 more in her drawer than she started with.
Employees of various departments at the Giant Food Mart, 72 Genesee St., Cuba, and the Park & Shop, 1014 Front St., Olean, had been preparing for the expected rush of the days leading up to the big game. They had been ordering items and then stocking items for sale, checking schedules and making deli preparations.
Chris McGinnis, assistant manager at Giant, said the store primarily orders more "party items," such as chips, pop, cheese, crackers, water and beer, for the days leading up to the game.
For instance, the store ordered roughly 10 to 12 more pallets of pop and two more pallets of beer than usual, McGinnis said. Additionally, managers and stock clerks prioritized the stocking of those extra sodas, beers and snacks.
Brittany Holdridge, a head cashier, noted that Giant had a football-themed meat sale and a Pepsi buy-two-get-five-free deal, enticing customers to buy these items for their game celebrations.
How many employees get put on for game day depends on how many people were needed the year before, Abigail Congdon, an office assistant at Giant, said. This year, Giants has scheduled seven cashiers, which is four more than it schedules on an average day.
And the deli will have a person scheduled only for the making of pizza and wings, which are so popular, McGinnis said.
Kody Wright, the Giant deli manager, said they do anything they can on the day of the game to make things more efficient. Not only are more employees scheduled but more ingredients are ordered: three to four times more wings, double the pizza boxes and triple the pizza dough.
At the Park & Shop, preparations have been similar.
"You do sell more party items," owner James Mahar said. "That's no question."
Mahar also pointed to the need to keep supply chain preparations in mind as well. He explained that supply chains offer their own sales and promotions to stores based on what people tend to buy more of during celebratory times such as the Big Game, Easter and Christmas.
At Giant, employees are ready for the business, Holdridge said.
"It's a big thing, so we come in prepared, thinking it's going to be busy," Holdridge said.
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