Saturday, February 06, 2010
Grocers await stock after shopping frenzy before snowstorm
The weather that caused people to rush out and buy food could also delay shipments.
Photos by Eric Brady | The Roanoke Times
Cars and trucks move steadily on southbound Interstate 81 near exit 141 in Roanoke County Friday morning. [See more photos of the early morning snow]
Passengers load Flight 5543 en-route to Atlanta before it takes off from Roanoke Regional Airport Friday morning. [See more photos of the early morning snow]
Weather Journal blog
From this week's papers
- Winter turns deadly on I-81
- Third major storm slaps region with snow, sleet
- Grocers await stock after shopping frenzy
- Weather Journal: Storm likely to sprinkle more snow, less sleet
- Trusty winter tool in short supply locally
- Winter takes another wallop at Southwest Va.
Winter weather resources
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Update (12:02 p.m. Saturday): Follow our continuous updates throughout the weekend as the snow continues to fall.
Grocery store business usually soars when a snowstorm's brewing. Now, some grocers in the Roanoke Valley anxiously await food deliveries after shoppers slammed stores this week in anticipation of today's continuing winter storm.
A truck carrying everything from produce to meat and frozen foods will not arrive at Mick-or-Mack in Roanoke until Sunday, instead of today. Winter weather is the culprit because the truck is traveling from North Carolina, said Thurman Crowder, who owns this neighborhood grocer in Grandin Village.
As of Friday morning, the store was sold out of bagged potatoes, though loose potatoes remained. Still, the milk selection was growing slim, and customers "may not get exactly what they want," Crowder said.
"The shelves are shot, but we're still in business," he said.
Mick-or-Mack's sales were up 30 percent as of Friday, compared with a normal six-day week, Crowder said. The store is closed on Sundays.
Truck deliveries were running on a normal schedule at some other local grocers, including Kroger, Food Lion and Save-A-Lot. Even so, retailers said they hoped the winter weather would not affect those plans this weekend.
"We try to get ahead ... but when you have everyone that normally shops throughout the week cram stuff into one day, you're going to have some holes," said Carl York, a spokesman for Kroger.
Kroger stores have pulled all food from back rooms to fill shelves, he said. And although shopping was busy all week, Thursday was the ultimate traffic rush.
Staple foods such as milk and bread sold swiftly, though people also appeared to be stocking up for Super Bowl parties on Sunday, York said.
Rett Ward, owner of Save-A-Lot in Roanoke, was most concerned that an expected food delivery via truck from Maryland would be delayed. It's planned for today at Save-A-Lot. As of midday Friday, he had not yet heard if the truck would be late.
If it doesn't arrive on schedule, "We still have food," Ward said. "I'm sure we would run out of some things."
Meanwhile, customers had little trouble finding groceries in Christiansburg. As snow continued to pour down and Bobcats and blade-equipped four-wheel drives worked to keep the lots clear, most shoppers were far from panic, with many saying they were doing only their normal shopping.
"I'm just here because my wife sent me here," Christiansburg resident Fred Vitaliano said.
Kim Walters of Christiansburg experienced the long lines at Food Lion on Thursday night. She was back Friday morning buying meat, which had run low the night before, she said.
Staff writer Tonia Moxley contributed to this report.