Sean Humphrey, 30, and Phillip Padgett, 28, wore hoodies and face masks when they ran into the shop in Sunderland demanding money from the till.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the men made off with bottles of alcohol after staff were forced to hide in a room.
Prosecutor Phillip Morley said: "On the 24th of March this year the victim in this case was working at the J&H convenience store.
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"She is the store supervisor and was working with five other members of staff when at around 5pm she was at the till entrance door.
"She became aware of the two defendants entering the store. They went through the unlocked till entrance door.
"The male at the front of the door shouted 'open the ******* till' and this male was the defendant Humphrey.
"When he got closer she saw in his hand what she believed at the time, a knife. This was in fact a red handled screwdriver.
"CCTV captures all of this and it shows the second male, who is Phillip Padgett, standing behind Humphrey and he is holding a blue screw driver.
"Whilst staff were in the back room the defendants took a number of bottles of alcohol from the store. These bottles were valued at £153.83."
The court heard that the store lost an estimated £2,000 as it had to close for four days after the incident.
Mr Morley added that when police located the defendants, they saw a picture of the bottles on a phone being advertised to potential buyers.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said: "This incident was terrifying and I was frightened and scared.
"I'm normally happy and excited to come to work but this has left me feeling worried about coming to work in future."
Humphrey, of Blind Lane in Sunderland, and Padgett, of Tatham Street, also Sunderland, both admitted robbery.
Glenn Gatland, mitigating Humphrey who has seven convictions on his record, said: "He is full of remorse. He accepts full responsibility.
"Mr Humphrey had a very well paid job as a sheet metal worker but of course Covid struck on the 16th of March 2020 and what happened then, he lost that job.
"He had difficulties in paying his obligations because he was used to that well paid employment.
"He had problems with relationships because he was out of work and had no money."
Tony Cornberg, for Padgett, who has six previous convictions, said: "This was a plan concocted no more than five minutes before it was carried out.
"He had ten years free completely of any trouble and since 2012 he had been working.
"He recognises the need to stay in control and on the straight and narrow.
"The hope is he can pick up and remain offence-free as soon as possible."
Mr Recorder Mark Giuliani sentenced Humphrey to three years behind bars and Padgett to two years and eight months.
The judge said: "Inside that store were members of staff and customers including two young children.
"It's clear customers were frightened by your actions including children who quickly made their escape.
"This is so serious only an immediate custodial sentence will do."