Nelson's Market survives - and thrives - during pandemic
A year ago, Scappoose residents Brandon and Kymberly Nelson leapt into the void.
They stepped forward to purchase the old Rose Valley Market (more recently known as Skinny's) at 33666 E. Columbia Ave. in Scappoose back in August of 2019.
Since then, the Nelsons have navigated the waters of being first-time business owners, a power outage and robbery in late July, disruptions in the supply chain, and most notably, the coronavirus pandemic that took over the world back in mid-March.
Through it all, the Nelsons (including their three sons Kamden, 9, Bowen, 7, and Lawken, 3) have learned, grown, worked and persevered, recently celebrating their first anniversary as owners of Nelsons' Neighborhood Market and Deli (503-987-1758) on Aug. 1.
"We survived the break-in and we've survived the pandemic for now. (And) we had a power outage," Brandon Nelson said. "It was funny. We had a power outage the night before the break-in and (one of our employees) said 'Isn't this crazy? You guys have gone through almost everything in your first year.' And then the very next day, it was broken into."
Through all of that, the Nelsons and the store's 12 employees have not only survived, but thrived despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges of the pandemic, it turns out, have been the biggest test that Nelsons' Neighborhood Market and Deli has faced.
"We thought 'What are we going to do? What in the world is happening? Are we going to be able to pay our employees? What is it going to look like tomorrow? What happens if somebody gets sick?' Brandon Nelson said. "So many things ran through our heads."
Like so many other businesses, Nelsons' Neighborhood Market and Deli has undergone a myriad of changes because of the pandemic. Employees wash their hands regularly, use hand sanitizer by the gallon and greet customers from behind plastic barriers at the checkout counter. They wipe down the store's surfaces every 10-15 minutes, leave their doors open so patrons don't have to touch the handles and offer curbside service for customers who don't feel comfortable coming inside.
With all the restrictions still facing restaurants and bars, however, Nelsons' Neighborhood Market and Deli has thrived.
"(There was) just so much uncertainty, but it's been met with just record-breaking numbers," Brandon Nelson said. "The community comes back and just wants to support us and make sure that we're doing well. It couldn't have turned out any better. It's amazing."
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed by the community. Nelson said that customers — many he knows on a first-name basis — regularly express their appreciation for the service that Nelsons' Neighborhood Market and Deli provides.
"I hear it almost daily — 'We're so thankful that you guys are here and not closing down, not shutting down your hours,'" Brandon Nelson said. "We've stayed business as usual. We haven't modified our hours at all and people really have enjoyed that because we get people that are going to work at five o'clock in the morning that stop in and grab their coffees, and people that get off work late at night and this is one of the last places open."
Nelson's is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days per week.
"My staff, my family and the community just make it all definitely worthwhile," Brandon Nelson added.
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