Orange Barn adjusts fruit sale after long lines lead to safety concerns
KITCHENER -- A popular fruit sale near the community of Millbank has had to pivot its strategy overnight when the demand for its product became a traffic and safety concern.
Ontario Provincial Police say they were dealing with a collision at the same time vehicles were lined up for the Orange Barn’s first drive-thru and COVID-safe sale on Friday night.
They add that they were trying to manage an estimated 700 vehicles and eventually had to turn some cars away.
“We’ve been in line for four hours,” said Mike Lamont. “After two hours we committed ourselves and decided to stick it out.”
The Orange Barn, which brings in fresh citrus fruit from California and Florida, says they dealt with volumes of customers beyond anything they’ve ever seen.
“It’s been more than what we were anticipating,” said owner Duane Erb. “We thought we had done everything the way it should be to control the traffic and the lines.”
OPP add that vehicles were blocking Perth Road 121, so they shut it down for road safety.
"People were not parking on the shoulder of the road," said officer Barry Cookson. "People were taking up the line lane of traffic."
The Orange Barn is apologizing to customers, but add that some were verbally abusing their staff after they left empty-handed.
The business sold 1,000 boxes Friday night and were planning to sell 1,500 more on Saturday.
"Some people were here and we had staff in so we started early so that we can keep lines moving before it bunched up too much," said Erb.
Orange Barn was warning customers online there could be a three to four hour wait, but also made some changes to their ordering and paying process to help move the line more quickly.
"Two more order takers, we've set up a line for cash and cheque and separate line for debit, and we've added some staff to load the vehicles," said Erb.
Customers told CTV News they were in line for around two hours, but that the product was well worth the wait.
With reporting from CTV Kitchener's Carmen Wong