Essential: Woodard’s Market Cashier Westin Hart

{Editor’s Note: This is the fifth of a multi-part series highlighting all the essential folks in Moore County. Readers nominated each interview subject. To nominate someone, email editor@lynchburg-times.com.}

Woodard’s Market cashier Westin Hart says despite the governor’s Stay at Home order, the local small business is busier than ever. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

When he took the Woodard’s cashier job two years ago, MCHS senior Westin Hart never imagined there would come a day when he’d need to tell a customer they couldn’t buy toilet paper. But that was the scene recently at Lynchburg’s independently owned grocery store.

“We’ve had to temporarily limit the number of rolls customers can buy,” he says. “Sometimes the reactions aren’t pleasant. I would tell you about them but I don’t think I’m allowed to say all those words.”

Prior to Governor Bill Lee’s Stay at Home order, Woodard’s Market had a predictable rhythm. Farmers and distillery first shift workers in the morning and locals doing dinner shopping in the afternoons. Now, he says, it seems busy all the time.

“Despite the Stay at Home order, we’re busier than ever,” he says.

Westin lives near Lois off Highway 50 with his parent Wendy and Kevin Hart. His foster sister, Kursten Hawkins, attends Motlow. His sister, Delaney, remains in Chicago attending DePaul University. He says conversations with her keep him grounded in the seriousness of the situation.

“It’s a much bigger deal there then it is here,” he says. “People there take it much more seriously.”

When he’s not at Woodard’s Market, Westin says he quarantines like everyone else … reading Stephen King novels and binge-watching the TV series, Haven, with his girlfriend, Bryanna Taylor. He says he’s trying to salvage as much of his senior year as possible.

“I’ve been looking forward to my senior year since forever,” he says. “Senior trip, prom, senior nights at spring sports, graduation …. I’ve lost two-thirds of that. At first I was really angry, sad, and disappointed but now I’ve come to terms with it.”

Westin says the senior class recently held a meeting via Zoom where advisers made a commitment to hold prom and graduation as soon as all this passes. Until then, Westin says he’s looking forward to attending Tennessee Tech in the fall where he plans to study Information Assurance and Cyber Security.

“I might as well make the best of it,” he says.

When asked about the moment that stands out most to him during these unique times, Westin says customer expressing gratitude really made an impression. He says at the end of March, customers started coming up and saying thank you.

“They’d say things like, ‘I really appreciate you being here and risking your own health for us.’ That means a lot,” he says.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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