At the onset of the coronavirus footprint in Nebraska, grocery store managers in Thayer County watched their shelves filled with bathroom tissue and disinfectants quickly empty.
“Eggs will still be short becuase hens can only lay so many eggs,” Central Market owner Steve Anderson said, who had a limit for one dozen per shopper March 31.
The coronavirus seemed to send people into panic shopping mode, enough they travel to other small towns looking for goods.
Shoppers at Arends Family Foods in Deshler are treated to what the store is able to bring in — and some of what other stores can’t, depending on the day.
“Our warehouse is limiting the count and running five to seven percent on shortages. What I order, I don’t necessarily get,” Bill Norden said.
The truckers are exhausted. Paul Philippi of Bruning Grocery saw that first hand. He told a story of his store being the last one on the route for a particular trucker.
“We were the last stop and I told him to stay in the truck. He slept overnight,” Philippi said.
They’re working hard, Anderson noted. Milk and bread should be in stock, but bathroom tissue comes as the manufacturers ship them out.
“It’s just going to take a while before the pipeline is full again. It’s been decimated,” Anderson said.
Arends’ warehouse delivers to 800 to 900 stores, large and small, and trying to make sure all the stores receive a little of everything with the truckers running a bit behind.
“We’re trying to get through the best we can and help each other without being grumpy,” Norden said.
His wife Ashley is making her work commute to Fairbury mean a little more by bringing necessary items with her to share.
Norden said curbside pickup is available if people want to place pre-orders.
“If we can do those small things and make a difference, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
Philippi hasn’t had too many requests for curbside pickup, or bag and go, as he calls it. Shoppers have been sensible and don’t complain.
“We’re all used to having ads and that will be out of the window for a couple of weeks,” he said. “Our suppliers I am thrilled with. They’ve done very well for us.”