HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – With COVID-19 numbers on the rise again, some supermarkets are figuring out a game plan for what could come next.
With Thanksgiving around the corner and COVID numbers on the rise, it could turn into the perfect holiday storm for grocery stores hoping to keep shelves stocked as they see a steady increase of shoppers buying essential items.
“It’s been on an uptick here in the last probably 3 weeks and we’re expecting another 3 weeks of it for sure so we’ll just have to see,” said Star Market Buyer Steve Hammer.
Hammer has been a buyer for the supermarket for more than a decade. He said when the first wave of COVID-19 hit North Alabama, the store ran out of key items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies in a matter of hours. Hamer said the store and its suppliers learned some important lessons.
“It’s one of those deals where we’ve learned from the past experience, all the different suppliers we can get at that really help give us a broad base,” Hammer said.
It is the same for larger store chains. Kroger’s division communications coordinator, Melissa Eads said changes by manufacturers made it easier to keep items on the shelves.
“With more production coming out with all these manufacturers, we feel like we’re going to be able to stay in business a lot better than we did at the start, onset of COVID,” she said.
According to Hammer and Eads, the purchase limits shoppers saw in the spring could return in the weeks to come if shoppers panic like that again.
“Honestly a lot is just going to depend on our shoppers, a lot is going to depend on the customers, a lot is going to depend on them trusting the system and just buying what they need for this shopping trip. That’s what’s going to make or break us so to say,” Eads said.