JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) — Bare shelves have reappeared in grocery stores this week.
It’s noticeable from big chains to the corner market, and the problem is especially bad in small towns were there may only be one place to shop for groceries.
In Wilmore, Fitch International Grocery Alliance (‘IGA’) is plenty stocked on just about every item except for a handful of essentials: white bread, milk, bananas, etc. These items tend to go the fastest when snowstorms are on the way, and for this week in particular, that is Fitch IGA’s number one reason why some items are still out of stock.
Fitch IGA owner, Leonard Fitch, said, “I really get hurt when I can’t supply a need, and it’s worse now than it has been in the past. I don’t ever remember it being this low as far as our inventory goes.”
Fitch takes pride in his store which opened back in the 1950’s, and in all his years of having storefronts open to the community, he said this season’s chaotic supply chain has been unlike any other he’s seen in almost 15 years.
Above anything else, Fitch is grateful to his customers for being understanding when, for reasons out his control, the store runs out of inventory.
“We’ve had some real situations, like our produce didn’t come on Friday. Bread is pretty low. Milk is low,” Fitch said.
Fitch IGA receives deliveries on Tuesday and Fridays, so the store took a hit when their Friday delivery truck got stuck in a snowstorm coming from Indianapolis, and then Laurel County, last weekend.
“Our produce didn’t come in on Friday. We were out of lettuce. Banana’s were awfully low. We had three bananas when the truck came through,” Fitch said.
While Fitch IGA called other suppliers to re-stock as soon as possible, customers scrambled.
“Well we’ve had to do several trips, so we have to supplement that with going to another store like Nicholasville,” Chris Alfred, a customer at Fitch IGA, said.
Alfred was also surprised to see other items completely out on the shelves.
“Yes, olive oil, which I didn’t expect, so we had to rearrange some dinner plans and stuff like that,” Alfred said.
On top of the snowstorm delaying deliveries last weekend, the inventory shortage has also been hit by the rising COVID-19 cases and the flu season.
As a result, Kentuckians are also seeing shortages of Tylenol and Gatorade/Powerade.
“We’ve taken a hit to our personnel because of it too,” Fitch said.
For the time being, other major stores like Meijer in Richmond reportedly, are having to limit items to two per person. Fitch IGA fortunately has not had to enforce such a policy.
“I guess because we’re small town, people have been so considerate about that,” Fitch said.
The stockpiling trend for snowstorms is not over yet. There is potential for another storm this coming weekend, so it is best advised to grab essentials as soon as possible for the coming days.