A Pocatello bike shop is doing its part to help local residents during the coronavirus outbreak.
Barrie’s Ski and Sports, 624 Yellowstone Ave., purchased 5,000 pounds of Idaho potatoes from a Shelley distributor and gave the spuds away to local residents starting at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Jonathon Hunt, the co-owner of Barrie’s, said the potato giveaway is the business’ way of saying thanks to the decades of support local residents have given to the establishment.
“This is a big thank you from us,” Hunt said.
Barrie’s has been allowed to remain open following Gov. Brad Little’s announcement that residents should stay at home, aside from doing essential tasks, and that businesses not deemed to be essential should close. Hunt explained the order considers bike shops to offer essential transportation services.
Nonetheless, Hunt said Barrie’s is taking precautions to protect its workers and customers. Only two customers will be allowed inside of the shop at a time, and they must use a hand-sanitizing station prior to entering. Bikes will be wiped and disinfected thoroughly before being returned from tuneups.
Customers who need work done on bikes may also have them checked in at the business’s curbside. Barrie’s staff will also travel to homes to pick up bikes from customers and will deliver them back to customers once work is finished, free of charge.
Barrie’s workers have also started making free deliveries of online orders, with some employees using their own bikes as transportation.
Hunt said sales of new bicycles are down significantly, but requests for tuneups and mechanical work are extremely strong. He said the roughly 30 employees of the shop all still have jobs.
“I think people are trying to use what they have and not buying new,” Hunt said, adding the City Creek recreation area has been bustling as people seek to get outside and exercise during the coronavirus outbreak.
Barrie’s employees, wearing gloves and masks as a precaution against the coronavirus, loaded the free potatoes into the trunks and backseats of people’s vehicles in the store’s parking lot.
Hunt said he decided to do the potato giveaway after going to a local grocery store and not being able to find any spuds.
“Potatoes are a local thing, locally grown,” Hunt said. “Every Idahoan needs a potato.”
Many local grocery stores are having a difficult time keeping items in stock as people load up on everything from food to toilet paper because of the coronavirus threat.
Hunt said he hopes by giving away the potatoes for free that he inspires others to do similar positive actions in the Pocatello community. He said the Pocatello area always rallies during difficult times such as the current coronavirus outbreak.
Hunt said he hopes the free potatoes give local residents comfort and strengthen the community’s bond because “we’re all in this together.”