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GENEVA – Graham’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream, at 302 S. Third St., Geneva, has made a science out of giving their customers a proper chocolate or ice cream fix during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s touchless curbside service,” said store manager Bonnie Pechous. “People want to pick up their ice cream, their bunnies, jelly bean carrots – they call us and request what they want.”
(For the uninitiated, jelly bean carrots are jelly beans gathered in a carrot shape.)
The order is paid with a credit or debit card.
“We do not handle any money at all,” Pechous said.
The store is closed, but there is a porch just outside the door atop the stairs.
“They let us know they are outside. We have a table on our outside porch. We put the purchases there. They come in from the car. We wave. They wave,” Pechous said. “We have got a system, I’m telling you.”
Robert and Beckie Untiedt own Graham’s; Pechous is Becky’s fraternal twin sister.
The store is also shipping 30 to 100 boxes of chocolates a day, she said.
“People want to have Easter eggs and bunnies whether they can go shopping or not. We are sending out a lot of boxes throughout the nation,” Pechous said. “Our business is down but we are not out, because our customers want what we have and they want it safely. We are protecting them and our employees most of all.”
To keep it in perspective, this time of year usually means a full store.
But because of the coronavirus and the need for social distancing, Pechous said they only have five employees working at a time and they are not making what they usually do.
“We want a safe place for them to work and feel confident,” Pechous said. “As business owners, we need to protect our employees and customers and still get things out to people.”
Graham’s also has a store at 119 W. Front St., Wheaton, but that location also closed due to the coronavirus.
Graham’s 318 Coffee House at 318 S. Third St., Geneva, is closed. Pechous said they tried to do curbside in the same way, but people gathered outside and were not observing social distancing.
“We would not let that happen,” Pechous said. “It was clearly an uncomfortable situation. We’re all scared. It would be ridiculous for any of us to feel immune. We are all vulnerable. What we are trying to do at Graham’s is remember why we are here … and taking care of own, keeping as many people as we can working.”
More information about Graham's is available online at www.grahamschocolate.com.