Shoppers stock up for storm

Published 7:00 pm Friday, February 4, 2011

The sky turned gray and soon winter would blanket the city ofBrookhaven early Thursday morning. Small beads of ice tinged offroofs and windshields and people found themselves clutching totheir jackets and leaving work or school early as the threateningicy conditions became more apparent. There was only one thing leftto do … shop.

Those who passed Piggly Wiggly on Monticello Street on their wayhome may have thought the store was giving away free heaters on thecold winter day as parking spaces became as scarce as the warm sunaround noon on Thursday.

“I love it when we’re busy,” said cashier Troy Ezell Jr. “But Ihate this weather.”

Walking into the store sounded like walking into variousestablishments along the Gulf Coast as the beeping checkout processresulted in a jackpot for store co-manager, Violet Kyzar. She saidfrom noon until 1 p.m. was the single best hour of sales all yearlong.

While she was unable to disclose an amount, she said the hour’sworth of transactions topped that of Christmas Eve, July 4 andThanksgiving.

“It wasn’t close,” said Kyzar. “I was excited.”

Kyzar said the items that flew off the shelves the most werebreads, canned meats, water, cold cuts, ground beef and sandwichitems.

“Anything people can make sandwiches with or cook on the grill,”said Kyzar.

The co-manager said even the gas sales were up. Kyzar said shesaw an increase of fuel and propane sales as people filled theircars and generators.

“Since Katrina, a lot of people have generators,” she said.

Kyzar added that the shoppers that did not make it to the storeon Thursday or happened to miss what they were looking for had noreason to worry. She said she placed an order for more bread andcanned meat and water had been recently received. She alsomentioned the store has a generator that can start in fiveseconds.

“I will be doing business, power or none,” Kyzar said.

While the weather conditions were certainly the driving force ofincreased sales, Kyzar thought the schools being closed earlyprobably had a huge impact on sales.

“Any time you hear they’re letting out the schools, your breadsales jump,” she said.

As expected, most people shuffled the isles looking for items ofprovision in case the weather took another turn for the worse andthey found themselves out of food and unable to travel.

“You never know what this weather is going to do,” said DennisMcGehee after placing a loaf of bread into his shopping cart.

Shopper Rhonda Lemieux lives 16 miles away and found herselfpicking up supplies at Piggly Wiggly for her family while she wasstill able. She grabbed some milk for her grandchild and mother andsome sandwich meat and bread for her family.

“Well, I didn’t want my momma getting on the roads,” saidLemieux. “She’s kind of funny with her driving anyway.”

However, some shoppers were simply making their usual run orcelebrating the excuse to wrap in a blanket and make feel-good foodfor the chilly evening.

Shopper Carolyn Reed was able to leave work early and she tookthe opportunity to buy some meat, frozen vegetables and other itemsneeded to make homemade soup and cornbread.

“I love winter time,” said Reed. “I can stay in, eat soup and bewarm.”