Rod Christiaens, back right, and his hard working staff are catching their breath after a busy COVID-19-induced surge in business. Now they are gearing up for the processing of the Charging Home 4-H Livestock steers and pigs in the coming weeks.

When COVID-19 concerns and panic purchasing hit in mid-March, area retailers noticed an increase in sales. Rod Christiaens reported that regular customers began buying larger quantities like halves and quarters from Christiaens Meats. However, sales have normalized in recent weeks. 

For customers without existing space, the ability to stock up was curtailed due to a shortage of freezers from retailers across the state. One Valier resident claimed, “I have been on the phone all day and there is not a freezer in the entire state of Montana!”

Curry’s Market did not “see the hoarding,” partly due to a quick response by owner, Wendy Judisch to limit purchases of paper products to one per customer. When asked what shoppers were currently doing, employee Megan Van Haur said, “In my opinion I feel like people are starting to shop normal.” 

The challenge now is waiting for the supply chain to catch up to the demand. Hoarding in other areas of the country has put a strain on suppliers, so some of the empty shelves in stores and supermarkets may not indicate continued hoarding. It may be that the products have never been fully replenished.

Christiaens continued, “It was good to see folks shopping locally again. It was good to see cars lined up outside Curry’s.” 

As people were asked to stay home and shelter in place, Valier was able to provide most of their retail needs. Curry’s Market was even delivering more locally. Except a freezer. Nobody had freezers! 

As a reminder, Christiaens Meats is open Monday through Friday and call in orders can be placed by at (406) 279-3624. Curry’s Market will prepare your order for pickup. Email currysmarket@gmail.com or call in orders to (406) 279-3632.

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