Area retail activity slows to a crawl

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2005

Katrina hit Brookhaven area businesses hard Monday, leaving allstill without electrical power this morning and no word as to whenpower would be restored.

None of the area’s large grocery chains were open Tuesdaymorning. Some smaller convenience stores were opening to a limitednumber of people and only for those paying cash.

Supermarkets Food Center and Piggly Wiggly both had generatorsto run essential items in the stores and were hoping to open laterin the day.

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“All of our perishable food, has perished,” said Bob Pucklitsh,store supervisor for both Food Center and Piggly Wiggly.

Pucklitsh said the stores were making arrangements to see whatthey can do for the public.

“We’re trying to open as soon as possible,” he said.

He said when the business opens it will be with limitedabilities.

Home Depot was one of the more popular places in town thismorning as hundreds of people lined the store’s aisles. The storewas running on backup generator power.

Greg Newman, store manager, was busy setting up an aislespecifically for shoppers in search of generators for their homesor offices.

The store was expecting to receive 200 generators by late thisafternoon, Newman said.

Newman asked that the public remain patient with the store. Hesaid he had “trucks and more trucks” on the way to the store. Theyare shipping products as fast as they can produce products, hesaid.

At the moment all forms of payments are accepted and all systemsare up in the store, thanks to the generators in place, Newmansaid.

Other hardware stores in Brookhaven are open, in addition toHome Depot.

Home Hardware floor manager Gary Richardson said his store wouldremain open until lunch today and would reopen again Wednesdaymorning and stay open until lunch again – a schedule he said thestore would maintain until power is restored.

He said right now Home Hardware can only take cash, credit orin-store charges.

Keith Dorman, owner of Brookhaven Hardware, said he will remainopen as long as he can.

Dorman said his store will remain open as long as he has fuelfor his generators.

Both Home Hardware and Brookhaven Hardware said they hadvisquene, plastic sheathing and roofing supplies.

Several other businesses in Brookhaven were open Tuesdaymorning, but the majority of businesses were closed.

Radio Shack, Robert Watts Pharmacy and Walgreens were just a fewof the store open to customers.

Some gas stations in the Brookhaven area had begun opening bymidday Tuesday. However, there was no word on how long supplieswould last or how long generators would hold out to keep the pumpsoperating.