Hardware and grocery stores were restocking their shelves on Friday as the threat of Hurricane Irma striking North Carolina diminished from Thursday’s potential storm track.
Customers rushed some stores on Thursday for post-storm survival supplies with bottled water selling out in many stores.
“I anticipate it letting up a little now because most models are pointing away from us,” said Mack Mclamb, owner of the Dunn-based Carlie Co’s grocery chain of 25 stores, “if the public believes that and will act accordingly.
“The public reaction was much quicker this time than in the past. Maybe that’s a reflection of the bad hurricane we had last year – the memory hasn’t faded.”
Food Lion stores in the Triangle, across North Carolina and in neighboring states in the forecast path of the hurricane, spent Friday shipping additional supplies of water, food, batteries and other merchandise.
Shopping trips to the more than 1,000 Food Lion stores began to increase on Thursday, with customers buying bread, ice, canned meat in addition to water and other supplies, said a spokeswoman for the Salisbury-based company.
“We will continue to carefully monitor the storm, and are ensuring that our shelves are stocked with essential items customers may need during this time, including working closely with our vendor partners to ensure products are available and restocked,” Christy Phillips-Brown said in an email.
A Harris Teeter spokeswoman said the company has been working with its suppliers to secure additional products in advance of the storm and would continue to do so through the weekend and into next week.
“While we may have supply issues on a limited number of items, we expect to be able to meet our customers’ needs,” Danna Robinson said in an email.
Who needs what?
Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers has been realigning shipments of in-demand items from its distribution centers and delivering them to stores that are likely to be the most vulnerable to the storm, and stocking extra supplies in Triangle stores, marketing vice president Rachel Wing said in an email.
The company reports selling a lot of water bottles, candles, lanterns, flashlights, batteries, gas grills, snacks and radios. After the storm passes, the company will be ready to quickly assess which stores need what merchandise, including cleaning products.
Variety Wholesalers has about 400 stores in 17 states operating under the names Roses, Roses Express, Maxway and Super 10.
Lowe’s Hardware Store, Home Depot and Ace hardware all said they had batteries on Friday. Lowe’s has not run out of batteries, and Home Depot and Ace Hardware are both currently re-stocking them.
Ace Hardware had sold out of water, but received a delivery Friday. The shipment included batteries, ropes and buckets. If any of these items run out again, Ace said it will be able to restock on Wednesday. It has not run out of chainsaws.
Generators will be more difficult to get from Ace: It does not stock generators and only obtains them for special orders. However, the warehouse in Virginia where Ace orders generators is out of stock.
Home Depot and Lowes reported they will be stocked with generators on Friday. Home Depot still has chainsaws and bottled water, and does not expect to run out of them.