GREENSBORO — As Hurricane Florence threatens the Triad, shoppers are hitting store shelves for necessities.
“People are getting all of the basic essentials,” said Chris Hammack, a sales manager at the Lowe’s home improvement store on Battleground Avenue. “We’re doing everything we can to stock customers with their needs.”
On Tuesday, the Lowe’s parking lot was nearly full and the store was doing a brisk business. But shoppers weren’t rolling carts filled with items. Purchases were small. A six-pack of refill cartridges for camp stoves here. A mop and some cleaning supplies there.
For some customers, it seemed like any other day as they also browsed potted plants or pondered the possibilities of a riding lawnmower.
Lauri Thompson was mostly concerned about how to bring light into an office without power.
“We’re trying to find flashlights and lanterns for our office,” Thompson said as she gazed at a picked-over display of headband lamps. “We have a generator, but it doesn’t light the whole building. You can’t work without light.”
The Lowe’s store sold out of generators, as did a Home Depot store on South Elm Street. More shipments are expected at both places.
Across the city, shoppers were also buying grills along with propane fuel and charcoal briquettes to fire them. Ice and canned meat were in demand. So was plywood and flashlights.
Marc Hennen was at Lowe’s with his dog Gus to get a sump pump for the generator he has in his basement.
“I want to keep that basement as dry as I can,” Hennen explained. “I don’t know if I’m overdoing it or not, but we’re just trying to be prepared.”
Despite Facebook posts of alleged fighting over bottled water and photos of long lines at area gas stations, the overall mood of shoppers was one of urgency without hysteria.
“I hit the grocery store this morning and there was no water, no bread — I was able to get enough so I’d be OK,” Jeanie Wyrick said.
Bottled water was definitely in high demand, despite the fact that city residents will have access to tap water in the event of a power outage.
Hennen managed to snatch some water from the Food Lion on Cornwallis Drive when the store restocked. But it was quickly snatched up.
“Going a little earlier definitely helped,” Hennen said.
The Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market on Yanceyville Street will be open today with produce pulled from the fields ahead of the storm.
“We are ready to handle the basics with eggs, milk and bread vendors as usual and a full array of seasonal fresh produce,” said Lee Mortensen, the market’s executive director.
Despite possible power outages, shoppers won’t be left without options.
“Regardless of what happens, our stores have generators and we will be open to help with any needs,” Hammack said.