- In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, a number of grocers have reopened or are in the recovery stage, working to open their doors as soon as possible. Publix, Target, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Aldi, Walmart and Winn-Dixie are among the grocery stores that operate in the hardest hit areas of the Carolinas.
- Currently, customers in affected areas are advised to check company websites, where grocers are posting updates about store conditions and closure status. Though most stores did shut down during the peak of the storm for the safety of their employees and customers, many stores tried to stay open as long as possible.
- A number of retailers are doing what they can to support community relief efforts, including sending supplies and gathering donations for the American Red Cross.
As communities have seen in the past, grocers play a key role before, during and after storms — providing supplies, supporting relief efforts and helping neighbors get back on their feet once damage has occurred.
While Florence was not as severe as first predicted, it still left hundreds of thousands of people without power, and downpours have flooded many areas. More than 30 lives were lost because of the storm.
The storm has posed significant challenges for grocers. Ahead of the storm, many stores ran out of essentials, showing how seriously customers took the official warnings. In the aftermath, some stores are finding it difficult to keep their shelves stocked with supplies because of road closures, fallen trees and flooding. Others, despite their wishes to open up, are not safe to do so and are trying to serve as many customers as possible with limited locations.
Stores that have reopened were greeted by a hectic scene. On Saturday, Harris Teeter in Wilmington, N.C., opened to more than 500 anxious customers who had been without a grocery store for four days. On Monday, residents and evacuees in Lumberton, N.C., rushed to Fresh Foods IGA when it opened for business, allowing them to restock their supplies and even get fresh foods, thanks to the store’s generator. The store allowed only about a dozen people in at a time, despite long lines outside.
Grocery stores across the Southeast stepped up to help local communities. During the height of the storm, Publix helped a hospital stay open by loaning a generator. Without it, the emergency department would have shut down. Since relief efforts began, Walmart sent large supplies of bottled water, food and batteries, while Harris Teeter, Southeastern Grocers, Food Lion, Kroger and Publix are all raising funds for the American Red Cross to help victims recover.