AGAWAM, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – One of the first major changes during the coronavirus pandemic was a coin shortage. Many local businesses noted that they had difficulty providing change and even found themselves asking customers to pay by card or digitally.
“We were closed for 85 days and I worked every day of those 85 days trying to sell whatever I could anyway I could,” said Kate Gourde, owner of Cooper’s at Agawam.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many setbacks for local businesses. In the beginning, one of the main problems affecting homeowners and banks was a national coin shortage. Despite the difficulties and shortages of the pandemic, local businesses have been creative
Gourde told Western Mass News she found a unique way to avoid changing things.
“We ran a local charity rally program every month. It’s a local charity and we ask our customers if they want to round the change to the next dollar at checkout and if they agree to do so, we match 50 percent of the donation, ”Gourde explained.
Gourde said his roundup program brought in more than $ 30,000 which went to organizations like Pioneer Valley USO.
“Once we ordered our parts, we didn’t get what we actually ordered,” said Carolyn Balicki of Monson Savings Bank.
Balicki said their problems reached all the way to the federal level.
“… So if we ordered a box of $ 500 quarters, sometimes the authorities would change it for $ 100 into dimes and that would not only impact the branches but also our business customers,” Balicki explained.
Fast forward a year later and Balicki said helping the national coin shortage was a community effort.
“With retail customers digging through their piggy banks and taking it to the banks, we were able to return it again to the federal authorities and to our customers,” noted Balicki.
Recently, the Federal Reserve Board created the US Coin Task Force and said, “As of mid-June 2020, the US Mint has been operating at full production capacity. In 2020, the Mint produced 14.8 billion coins, an increase of 24% from the 11.9 billion coins produced in 2019. ”
They said the hope was that as the economy recovered and businesses reopened, more coins would return to retail and banking.