Utah Grocers Stock Up For Holidays, Pandemic Winter
Nov 10, 2020, 6:52 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2020, 3:45 pm
FARR WEST, Utah – Utah grocers are gearing up for the winter and holidays while urging shoppers at the same time to avoid panic buying, like stores saw last spring.
The big chains said they will have the items Utahns need, even though keeping items like cleaning supplies in stock remains a challenge.
We may never look at toilet paper the same way after the hoarding at the beginning of the pandemic. Local grocers as well as Proctor & Gamble said they are getting what’s needed and Utahns will be able to get it too.
Toilet paper was one of many things the folks at Associated Foods said they’ve stocked up on.
“Toilet paper’s not going to be an issue. We’re ready,” said Roger White, Associated Foods senior vice president of sales.
White said his warehouses have record amounts of inventory.
“We’ve been in constant communication with our vendor community for months now,” White said. “In fact, we went ahead and bought all our seasonal and holiday merchandise early, just to make sure that we had it there.”
He said at this time, he has not seen any panic-buying like last spring, and there’s no need for it in the coming months.
“There’s a big difference between what’s happened now, and what happened back in March. You know back in March and April, there was a lot of fear out there. People didn’t know what was going on and didn’t understand what the future held, and so there was some panic buying,” White said. “I think now, to some degree and fortunately, consumers know what’s happening. We understand the challenges of COVID, what it brings. Even though the cases are higher, and even though there was an emergency, or a state mandate, it’s not a new conversation to the community.”
Harmons managers said they have not seen major stocking issues, and Smith’s stores said the same.
The chain said it is making changes to keep the stores stocked.
“To ensure all customers have access to what they need, we’ve proactively and temporarily set purchase limits on certain products to two per customer, including bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap,” Smith’s representatives said.
Cleaning products are still difficult to keep adequately stocked.
“We talk to our suppliers daily on that and it’s still several months away before we get some of those categories recovered,” White said.
That’s because some of the materials used to make cleaning wipes is also needed to make personal protective equipment for medical workers.