Supply company keeps local workers employed while serving community with much-needed items
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- As companies tell their employees to stay home because of the coronavirus pandemic, the president of Riverside Paper Supply told News 3 he still needs his employees.
"We're a big family, and the main thing is for all of us to get through this together," JP Hill, the company's president, said. "Nobody is missing any time or paychecks."
Inside the warehouse are boxes of items, which include an item currently sought after the most -- toilet paper. The company needs someone to load it into people's cars.
"We want to stay busy because we want to keep all of our employees employed until this passes over," Hill said.
Riverside Paper Supply obtains these products from manufacturers and stores the products in its warehouse. It then ships the products to its clients locally and across the nation.
These would normally go to small businesses, schools and even government facilities. Because most are closed, the company chose to open up to a new clientele to sell those products to -- the average buyer.
"We kind of just did this to help everybody out and keep things moving," Hill explained.
The warehouse does not just have toilet paper in stock -- it also has rubber gloves, disinfecting products and paper towels, among other items.
Riverside Paper Supply has opened up its warehouse for two weeks. Shoppers like Janel Brown can now breathe a sigh of relief after buying toilet paper there after having no luck at local stores.
"It's been pretty hard. We've been trying to go to our local stores in our area, and myself - I live in Portsmouth," Brown explained after she ordered a case of toilet paper. "It's been really hard to find it, but of course you guys saved the day."
Hill said people lined up inside their office when it first opened up. They decided to sell the items in a "drive-thru" set where cars lined up out of the parking lot and into the street.
Cars pull up to a table near the loading bays, the driver tells an employee what they need and they are then given options and prices. The employee then goes into the warehouse, fetches the products and loads the item into the customer's car.
The prices vary by item and quantity, but there are limits on how many of an item a customer can buy. The warehouse only accepts card payments and Apple Pay.
"Anything we can do to help keep our employees employed as well as help the public and give them a good product at a good price," Hill said, "and kind of keep our guys moving, and helping the public is what we've been trying to do."
The warehouse is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Riverside Paper Supply is located at 240 Enterprise Dr. in Newport News.