EFFINGHAM — Chris Jones, the general manager of Effingham Menards for more than 11 years, is running an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We could be classified essential for a number of reasons,” Jones said. “While people are staying at home, if their water heater goes out, they will need to replace it.”

Jones said the Effingham store offers grocery items, appliances, as well as plumbing and lighting supplies.

“We are here for people who want to keep their normal life at home,” Jones said. “If someone’s stove goes out, they need to be able to cook.”

He said the store sells cleaning products to help people and businesses maintain and sanitize their environments. The Effingham Menards has a large lumber yard to facilitate construction contractors, with materials needed for any projects that might arise during the stay-at-home order.

“We sell products for just about all of the trades,” Jones said.

Jones said trade workers are classified as essential workers and his store provides a source for tools and necessary supplies to get their jobs finished. He said the store carries products for essential workers, including electricians, farmers and plumbers. He said they also carry products for stay-at-home residents who might have necessary projects to complete.

“I think every day, no matter what the circumstances are, we’re here to offer products to the community to help them maintain a normal life,” Jones said. “I think we are always essential whether the times call for it or not.”

He said right now the main thing he stresses to his team members is to maintain social distancing the best they can. Jones said currently they are working fully staffed.

“We’re trying to make it a safe work environment for the workers,” Jones said.

“Obviously, you have to take care of yourself, and making sure everyone is following the CDC recommendations is all we can do,” Jones said.

Jones said the store’s regular business hours have changed and a special shopping hour each day has been added for senior citizens.

“We are closing at 8 p.m. now in order to do some extra cleaning at night,” Jones said. “Anything people have touched on a regular basis is getting sanitized.”

“We are trying to make sure things are as clean as they can be for our guests and our team members,” Jones added.

Senior citizens may shop between 6 and 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday. The store is open to the rest of the public from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during those days. On Sundays, the senior shopping hour is from 8 to 9 a.m., with the store opening to the rest of the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.


Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.

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