CHICAGO (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic has lead to a run on grocery stores all across the city and suburbs.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli with gloves on hands went into the grocery stores to check out what many are describing as a serious disruption to the regular supply chain.
One of the owners of Testa Produce said in all his years in the business he’s never seen anything like this. And said he hopes he never sees it again.
“So we have 30 feet of empty shelf space. This is where we put our paper products, toilet paper, as you can see it’s been cleared out,” said David Kaniuga.
Kaniuga, the general manager of Carnival Grocery showed a long line of shelving stripped bare in his Oak Park store. In the time of COVID-19 it seems like the new normal.
“This is the busiest we’ve ever been. I’ve been working in grocery stores for 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kaniuga said.
And that may be the case for store managers in Aldi, Jewel and Pete’s Fresh Market where there were plenty of empty shelves, long lines and full parking lots.
“All of us are working at 110% trying to keep our shelves full and keep customers in and out as fast as we can,” Kaniuga added.
But it’s the supply that right now seems to be in doubt. Arthur Paris owns stores in Oak Park and Lincoln Park and both have been experiencing missing links in the normal supply chain.
“We’re all worried about restocks. I’m expecting three or four trucks today and I’m not sure if they’re going to show up and they might not have whole loads,” Paris said. “They might only bring 25% or 30% of what I ordered.”
So although the rush of business is good for the bottom line…
“We did about five times normal sales between Thursday and Sunday,” Paris said.
But just as sales go up so too does the stress level as inventory levels decline with no guarantee they’ll be replenished anytime soon.
“It reduces the amount of stuff I have to sell and it makes it real challenging. Everybody is going be struggling to stock their stores,” Paris added.
So stores are setting purchase limits on certain high demand items in an attempt to keep up with the seemingly endless demands of shoppers in the time of COVID-19.
“Hopefully we can be filled back up by the end of the week but we are not sure how long this panic shopping is going to last,” said Kaniuga noted.
The bottom line: There is plenty of stock in stores, but it will be difficult to find some items. Water, dairy products, canned goods and of course paper products are among the items that are difficult to find right now.