Snow puts demand on grocery stores

Published 6:27 pm Friday, February 12, 2010

When confronted with the possibility of snow, people will go the grocery stores ahead of time to stock up, in case they are shut in by the weather and unable to get out to get the necessities.

“I’m picking up things that we can fix without electricity,” said Sam Gross. “Just in case, because you never know.”

James Reed, the store manager of The Market Place in Demopolis’s Gateway Plaza, has seen grocery rushes like this enough to predict when the crowd will come in and what items they will seek.

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“We have a big rush on water, bread, milk and some of the staples,” he said. “They buy a lot of sugar to make tea and so forth. They’ll buy a lot of canned items, like soup or stews. It’s quite an influx of business. They’ll buy a lot of refrigerated stuff, but there is always the chance that the power will go out.

“It happens every time. They hear about the weather through the newspaper, radio or TV, and here they come. Usually, it’s a last-minute thing, when the first snowflake starts to flutter. Most of the time, we’ll get the biggest rush around late afternoon or early evening. That’s when most folks start getting off work and they start hearing the different reports. Most of the older crowd comes in first.”

Reed said he called his distributors to help him keep the shelves stocked with the more popular items, like water, bread and milk.

“Water is a good thing to have, anyway,” he said. “It’s just a matter of having enough space to put it in. We’ve got four times the bread that we normally order, and (the distributor) has some standing by. We’ve been talking about this all week long. You just never know.

“The sad part is: We’ll have this rush of folks, and then, over the next few days, we won’t sell anything — at least, for those items. Then, we’ll go back to normal.”