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‘Dog food and wine!’ First grocery store opens, draws mob scene in Wilmington

More than 500 people flooded Harris Teeter, the first grocery to open since Hurricane Florence cut power to the city Thursday night. Photo by Josh Shaffer
More than 500 people flooded Harris Teeter, the first grocery to open since Hurricane Florence cut power to the city Thursday night. Photo by Josh Shaffer

A crowd bordering on a mob scene formed in Wilmington Saturday as the first grocery store opened in four days, drawing 500 storm-soaked residents to push through the doors.

After two days in darkness, the city saw electricity return to a two-block grid on College Avenue.

Hurricane Florence victims with Internet access saw the grocery’s notice go up on Facebook. But most saw the line stretching around the side of the store and simply joined it.

As doors opened at 10 a.m., Harris Teeter employees loudly warned shoppers elbowing each other at the door to be civil, and that Wilmington police had nothing better to do than haul unruly people out of the store.

As the doors slid open, cheers filled the rain-soaked parking lot as they pushed inside.

“We need wine!” said Nadia McAlear, 24.

“Dog food and wine!” said her mother, Sarah Mason.

Since Florence struck Thursday night, the city has endured a total blackout with not a single business open.

With supplies of peanut butter and crackers running low, storm victims relished a chance for a fresh meal — if only a cold cut sandwich. Cars parked on the sidewalks in hopes of a bag of charcoal.

In this disaster area, the Teeter provides.

Josh Shaffer: 919-829-4818, @joshshaffer08

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