Pandesnownium: Charlottesville shoppers go mad before storm
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?