Store Manager Steve Normandy is bent over stocking toothpaste on a shelf. As always, his store in Tewksbury, Massachusetts looks orderly and welcoming, but there are notable differences from a few short months ago. Front Store and Pharmacy teams wear gloves and masks, plexiglass stands as a protective barrier at counters and red floor arrows direct customers and patients along a one-way path.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep people safe, including ourselves,” says Steve, his gray hair and easy smile apparent. “We’re making things as normal as possible.”
Steve has been with the company 31 years. When asked if he knows he’s called the “grandfather” of store managers, he responds with a large baritone laugh. “I guess you could say I’ve worked for CVS Health longer than many managers have been on the planet.” Humor is one of Steve’s hallmark traits.
As any good grandfather would do, Steve has been a reassuring presence since the Coronavirus turned lives upside down. Protecting his staff, he encourages them to take vacation time, recharge their batteries even drink more fluids.
“I’ve implemented shorter shifts to minimize their exposure. I also ask them to stay off social media and get their news from reliable sources – there’s so much misinformation,” he says. “Like our customers, they have fears about this pandemic.”
Steve says these days he’s less task-oriented and more empathetic. “All of us need to be,” he suggests. That empathy for his team carries over to his customers. “We’re walking in their shoes and they’re counting on us.”