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'Only get what you need': Grocery stores, hardware stores see a jump in demand but a low in supplies

Posted at 7:57 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 20:57:04-05

Supply is down and demand is up. That's the situation at stores all over Texas as the impact of the winter blast continues to take a toll.

Empty shelves like the ones at H-E-B this week are a flashback to the early days of the pandemic and panic buying.

"Please bring your patience because just like we saw at the start of COVID, we don't want to see a big run on our stores because there's really not a lot of product. Only get what you need. Save some for your neighbors," said Mabrie Jackson, Director of Public Affairs for H-E-B.

The grocery store chain is focused on three things. First, keeping employees and customers safe.

"And that starts in our parking lots, which many are iced over," Jackson said.

Icy roadways are also slowing down truckers from delivering products on time.

Second and third, power issues, including fuel, are impacting the grocer and its suppliers, along with a shortage of water.

"We are shifting our dairy plants in San Antonio right now and we're going to shift to bottled water," Jackson said.

It's a move to help meet the needs of folks all over Texas to make it through this crisis.

"It's going to take a week or so for our suppliers and our own production facilities to get back onto shelves," Jackson said.

Milk, eggs, bread, and water are the hardest to keep in stock.

Hardware stores have their own hot ticket items. At Lowe's, those are generators, tarps, faucet covers, firewood, and water. There's also an uptick in plumbing products with so many pipes bursting.

Store hours are shorter to keep people off the roads after dark.

Still, Waco Lowe's manager Gary Moss has bent the rules and stayed open later for one particular customer who really needed generators.

"She was so thankful she was in tears. She was so thankful we were willing to do what we had to do to take care of her. I will never turn anyone away if I can help them," Moss said.

Lowe's is asking customers to call ahead instead of taking a treacherous trip for a product they might not have in stock.

"This is the craziest thing I've ever seen. I'm from, born and raised in South Texas and never seen anything like this. I've been through hurricanes and this is, this is crazy," Moss said.

The historic circumstances are prompting Lowe's to donate $250,000 to the American Red Cross in support of those impacted by the weather.

"So, to see how the community has come together has been amazing," Moss said.

Store hours at H-E-B, Lowe's, and many other stores are different this week. Check with their websites for the most up to date times at a store near you.