Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 30, 2012

Stocks low on staple items; stores sell out of generators

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Milk, bread, generators and Halloween candy were all on flying off the shelves Monday as shoppers attempted to batten down the hatches before the worst of the “Frankenstorm” hits the region.

Kathy Leedy, 37, of Princeton said she stopped by Kmart on her lunch break to pick up some items she needed.

“I came to get stuff, like kitty litter and all the basic necessities,” Leedy said. “I did the majority of my shopping earlier. I try to avoid being out in the weather as much as possible when it gets like this.”

Sharon Hunt-Bigelow, 56, of Bluefield said she had already gotten her supplies but was picking up Halloween candy.

“We came out to get Halloween costumes and gloves for the kids, which they’ll probably be wearing together this year,” Hunt-Bigelow said. “I got up before the kids were even awake to prepare for the storm. I got staples like batteries, bread, eggs, sausage, soup, lunch meat and snacks the kids like. I wanted to be prepared for the storm. My biggest concern right now is if the power will go out.”

Lori Regan of Bluefield said her children were not going to let snow prevent them from trick-or-treating.

“I had everything we needed before the storm, like bread and food the kids will eat,” she said. “They don’t care that it’s snowing. They want to go trick-or-treating. They don’t mind if they have to trick-or-treat in the snow.”

Frank Tinder, 55, of Bluefield said he was hoping to stock up on grocery items before the worst of the weather set in.

“I just want necessities like milk and bread,” he said. “I’m also planning to get batteries and flashlights. A lot of people are concerned about power outage. I’ve learned you need to get a cooler in case the power goes out so the food in your fridge doesn’t go bad. A lot of people don’t think about that.”

Miki Radojcic, assistant manager of Kmart in Bluefield, said many grocery items at the store have sold out.

“We are sold out right now of a lot of things,” Radojcic said. “Milk and bread are pretty much out. Those products were gone this morning, but we are trying to get a new truck with fresh supplies into the area as soon as possible.”

Radojcic said the store is anticipating a rush on heating items as well.

“Gas cans, heaters and water are also flying off the shelves,” Radojcic said. “We are pretty well stocked with heaters and water. Last year, we just took everything we thought people might need and put it at the front of the store. We also sold out of pretty much everything then. We are ready and have everything we can to help people out.”

Ron Martin, owner of Grant’s, said the store has been busy over the past several days.

“The rush is smaller today than in the past two days, but we are still much busier than usual for a Monday,” Martin said. “We have been expecting a rush around 5 p.m. when everyone gets off work as well. Milk, bread and water are the most popular items. We have had to restock our shelves a lot more than normal. Paper products are also one of the items people are getting the most.”

Bo Stephenson, store manager at Lowe’s in Bluefield, Va., said generators are among items that have sold out in Lowe’s stores across the region.

“A lot of our power outage supplies have sold,” Stephenson said. “We are just about sold out of anything power outage related like kerosene heaters and gas cans. We are completely sold out of kerosene. Generators have sold to the point that our store and our neighboring stores in Princeton and Claypool Hill have sold out completely as well. We are hoping to get more of those in as soon as possible.”

Stephenson said customers seem more concerned with potential power outages than with snow clean up.

“We have seen rock salt and ice melt sell, but right now people are more focused on preparing for a power outage,” he said. “I have heard we are only getting a few inches and then I’ve heard we should expect drastic amounts like two feet. Right now, staying warm is the priority.”

— Contact Kate Coil at