Grocery stores struggling to keep up

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REGION — Grocery stores in the region, like most of the rest of the country, are struggling to keep up with demand. A manager at Peck’s Market in Callicoon—who didn’t want to use his name—said they keep restocking the shelves, but the merchandise moves very quickly, especially in the aisle with the toilet paper.

AC Patel, the owner of Pete’s Market in Narrowsburg, said that the store is not as fully stocked as normal, but that it has the essentials like bread, milk, eggs, meat and produce and that the deliveries have been “pretty good.”

“You can’t get like five different kinds of apple juice, but we still have one kind of apple juice,” he said. Pete’s hours are now 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

A manager at the Peck’s Market in Eldred said he didn’t have time to respond to interview questions but, he said, “We’re doing our best, working hard.”

They must be. Demand for some staple items has soared since the same time last year. Sales of toilet paper are up 212 percent, dried beans up 230 percent and rice up 166 percent.
Business representatives insist this is a demand issue because people are buying so much, and the supply chain for grocery stores is working as intended.

Greg Ferrara, the president of the National Grocers Association, wrote in an opinion piece on its website, “Our industry has faced emergencies before from hurricanes to earthquakes, and fires to floods. We are experienced and prepared to continue serving our communities as our members do each and every day. Our nation’s food supply and supply chain is very strong, well stocked and will continue to work at the highest capacity to supply stores.”

Still, some stores are limiting purchases of some items. Shoprite in Liberty is putting a two-item limit on: disinfectant cleaners and wipes, paper products, bar and liquid soaps, cough/cold/flu over-the-counter medicines, fresh meat and chicken.

A post on the Shoprite website says, “Like all retailers, we are in short supply of many items that are in high demand right now. Since timing of product deliveries and in-store inventory can change rapidly, product limits are subject to change at the store manager’s discretion. We’re working with our suppliers to keep these items on the shelf for you and we appreciate your cooperation in limiting your purchases so that everyone can get the products they need.”

In Honesdale, PA, Dave’s Super Duper Supermarket has regularly been updating its Facebook page with photos of fully-stocked shelves and recent deliveries. “Doing our best to keep up,” it reported.

Starting March 21, the store adjusted its hours to close at 8 p.m. every night. Between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., two registers are reserved for senior citizens every day.

“We are currently receiving delivery trucks seven days a week which is helping us meet your grocery needs,” according to the store’s owners. “Our suppliers are working hard to replenish available products as quickly as possible, but you may see purchase limits on some items and availability of these items may vary at times.”

The Lake Region IGA in Hawley changed its hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to give its staff more time to “do a deep cleaning of the entire store and all the carts.” Beginning March 23, customers can only enter and exit the store using the front door. The store has also begun taking people’s temperatures before they enter the store; anybody with a temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be turned away. Those who are turned away can still call in an order for pickup or delivery.

The Weis Markets and Walmart in Honesdale have both updated their store hours. Weis is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Walmart is open 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and open for seniors only between 6 and 7 a.m.

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