Pandesnownium: Charlottesville shoppers go mad before storm

news-blizzardshopping-handHere we go again...

They're not looting just yet, but shoppers panicked by one weekend's impending whopper of a storm were swarming stores like locusts, leaving shelves barren in their wake.

Lowe's sold 1,000 shovels yesterday, February 3, and smaller hardware stores are doing an equally brisk business.

"We sold 400 shovels in two hours yesterday," says Rosemary Johnson at Martin Hardware on Preston Avenue. Sleds, rock salt and flashlights were disappearing, Johnson says, although a shipment due Friday morning of 1,000 shovels and other wintery items provides hope for late-comers (assuming they can reach the store before the roads become impassable).

Across Preston Avenue at Reid Super Save Market, "It's been crazy for several days," says assistant manager Kim Miller, adding that supplies, particularly milk and bread, are running low. Like Martin, the store expects a morning delivery to replenish shelves and fill pantries. "It should be here by 7am," she says, "we're hoping before the snow."

Advance Auto Parts on Pantops says snow chains, ice scrapers, and rock salt are gone. "Everybody's getting scared," notes a busy employee.

Panic, it seems, can be very good for business.

"We've had a lot of people looking for footwear, gloves, hats, and gaiters–- a little thing that wraps around the leg to keep snow out of your boots," says Gil Hines, assistant manager of Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in Barracks Road Shopping Center. The store's out of all insulated boots and running low on ice cleats. "This snow cleaned us out," Hines notes. "The' phone's ringing every five minutes with people looking for gloves, hats, anything to keep them warm."

At Never Dark, a Ruckersville-based family owned purveyor of whole house generators, snow isn't just good for business, it's great, says Paula Medeiros. Although it's too late for anyone to get a generator installed before tomorrow's storm–- "we've got a four week wait," she notes–- this year's 50-sales-mark represents a tripling over last year, with a $6,000 model that will power a heat pump, well pump, and 14 to 16 circuits the best seller.

In all the insanity over weather and food supplies, it seems shoppers haven't forgotten they'll need entertainment–- including ample libations.

The ABC store at Hollymead Town Center is sold out of Scapa, a single malt scotch, Bowman's light vodka, and Stirrings Pomegranate Martini Mix, while "perennial best seller in Virginia," Jack Daniels, was moving well.

And at Sneak Reviews video store on Ivy Road, an employee was so busy he couldn't even tell a reporter which titles were most popular.

"They're taking anything that's available," he said hurriedly. "I'm sorry I can't talk right now."

Can looting be far behind?

Read more on: martin hardwareshopping


Entertainment is always at the top of my list. If you have entertainment, DVDs and DVD players, you need to make sure all the laptops are charged up well in case the power goes out.

Charge that laptops people!!! :)

Why do people keep buying snow shovels? Do that many people really not have one by now, or do they think they are disposable?

The mind boggles.

Well... my current shovel is on its 4th winter... bought it when I moved into my house... Saturday I could feel it rotating on the shaft a little bit. (no Penelope, not in the way you're thinking) Tuesday/Wednesday is was a little worse... I think it will make it through this storm... but they do eventually break, get bent, etc...

Or after a big storm people decide "This shovel sucks!" and need to buy a different one that sucks in a different way since all that snow still weight a freakin' ton...

Caution--after shoveling, do not leave your shovel where it can be seen from the street. After the December storm left ours out for just a minute and when I returned it was gone.

I am seeing such wildly varying predictions of snowfall amount. The Weather Channel seems to be saying like 6-8 inches for Charlottesville, but NOAA is saying a lot more. I have to say, I'm rooting for lots of it. But then again, we already have a snow shovel.

was that a sexual reference?

Let's face it, Penelope has the right idea. :)

And I think anybody over the age of 18 with an IQ over 56 knows what she meant!

If some of you are still confused... mark your calendars to take notice of the increased amount of local birth announcements in November of 2010.

I just want to know if it is internet inches Penelope . Those predictions get even wilder :) .

Bring on the SNOW !

oh, penelope

I was snow shovel shopper number 2 at Martin Hardware yesterday morning, I'm so proud. I had to decide between plastic and metal which caused me to miss spot number 1.

In the waiting line to get inside Martins my favorite comment from a fellow snow shovel shopper was "Why does everyone buy milk and bread? Man I'm going for pizza and beer."

I see they updated the Shenandoah Valley to 20-28 :).

The best way to keep power is a backup generator.About 9 years ago if so much as a butterfly floated around my house the power went out, at least 4 or 5 times a year for 5 or more years . .I spent Christmas eve and Christmas in the dark in 2000 . So by GOD I installed a generator in 2001 and have NOT once ever needed it . The power has never even so much as flickered since the day the generator was set in . The generator has served as just another thing to service every year .Ugggggg


I think you know what she meant, MM.

I don't know hom much snow is gonna fall but I do know how many inches I'm gonna get....

Bring it on.....

That laptop's not going to do a lot of good if the wi-fi is down. I guess you could watch movies or create PowerPoints or write letters or something ...

Penelope, LOL!!

I've seen four plows go by on my street in the last couple of hours. If Public Works is being as efficient in your area as they are in mine, show your appreciation by getting out and doing some shopping this weekend. Let the City know the investment in snow removal pays for itself in sales tax; it sends the message that this is the way we like it.

Snow, ice...winter! WOW! Ironically things have been a bit more on the mild side up here in Maine. Hang in there - if you get desperate for ice cleats I recommend Stabilicers AND they are made here in the USA, not China. You can direct order here:

ps. Good point about birth increases in 2010...