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Area Businesses Being Proactive To Avert Coin Shortage

Photo by Scott McCloskey Market Cafe employee Adam Mountain displays a handful of coins at the Centre Market business Friday.

WHEELING — Regional and local businesses are taking proactive steps to overcome a coin shortage that is affecting many parts of the national economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the pandemic and consequential business closures, there are significantly fewer coins circulating throughout the U.S., creating a national coin shortage, according to Nick Ruffner, a spokesman for Sheetz.

He said while the company is not currently experiencing a coin shortage “emergency,” they are taking measures to get information out to their customers so they can help the situation.

“Retailers such as Sheetz have been particularly impacted by the coin shortage. With over 600 stores across six states, we are experiencing the coin shortage first-hand at almost all of our locations,” Ruffner said. “It is impacting gas stations and convenience stores, those types of industries maybe a little bit more, because those are industries that still do a decent amount of cash transactions.”

Locally, while some business owners in the Centre Market section of Wheeling said they have not yet experienced a coin shortage, others who have had issues said they are finding ways to adapt to the situation.

Jessica Clark-McDowell, owner of the Market Cafe and Ziglag, a quaint shop which offers locally-made gifts, said while she has experienced a slight shortage of coins at mostly her cafe business, she has relied on her social media friends to cash in their pocket change at her businesses.

“I actually asked my friends on Facebook if they would come in,” she explained. “There were a lot of people that had extra change laying around and they were more than willing to come in because they didn’t want to see cash disappear.”

Cory Manning, owner of Casa Di Vino, said while he has not yet experienced a significant coin shortage, he decided to start cashing in his own personal stash of pocket change at his business which he would normally cash in quarterly at a bank.

At the larger retails, like Sheetz, workers are asking people to pay with exact change or use credit cards, debit cards or the store’s payment app, Ruffner said. When checking out, customers can also donate their extra change to Sheetz For the Kidz — an employee-driven charity supporting underprivileged children during the holiday season that is really important to the entire Sheetz chain, according to Ruffner.

“Stores can ring these donations through the register for the charity so the funds go to an important cause and then use the coins as change for customers,” he said. “Throughout the holiday season we impact about sixteen underprivileged kids per store … that’s about nine-to-10 thousand kids per year that our employees are shopping for, wrapping, and presenting gifts to in the holiday season. … It’s really great because our employees have so much passion around it,” he added.

Ruffner said July is the usual fundraising month for Sheetz For the Kidz charity.

“As part of our proactive outreach to our customers we’re asking them to consider rounding up or donating any change or coins that they have lying around the house or their car,” Ruffner explained.

Ruffner said over the past few years Sheetz has expanded the charity to include yearly supported food banks in communities where Sheetz is located.

“So it does make a big impact in our communities,” he explained.

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