Grocery Stores Restock as Power Returns

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Some 300,000 Ohioans remain without power more than five days after high winds roared across the state. After Tuesday, anyone who saw the power come back on likely faced a trip to the grocery store to replace items lost in dark refrigerators and freezers.

Leah Harris is at the dairy case at the Grove City Target. She’s helping three little girls choose the kind of yogurt they want.

“The yogurt’s a little low,” Harris says.

But there is a variety to choose from. That’s good news for Harris who says she went without power until Thursday night.

“We are out restocking our refrigerator. This is the first store we’ve come to and so far, yes, we’re doing okay.

Harris also picks up two gallons of milk from a generously stock cooler. On Tuesday, the cooler and freezer cases were empty.

Kyle Kirkpatrick the grocery manager says employees had to work overtime throwing food out.

“Lost all of our food,” Kirkpatrick. “That next morning we made sure that we all took about six or seven hours to get all the food cleared out of all the freezers and coolers so was quite a lengthy process.”

Kirkpatrick says the store lost $43,000 worth of food. But thanks to Target’s restocking procedures Kirkpatrick says reordering was easy.

“If you have a total loss in your store on natural things like this that may happen, we have a quicker process where you can scan a whole aisle and order that whole aisle’s worth of food. Probably took about 2 minutes to reorder all the freezers’ and coolers’ worth. Only took a day and a half to get everything back in which is nice,” Fitzpatrick says.

Across the street at Wal-Mart, Kathy Ives is loading her trunk with a shopping cart full of perishables.

Q: What’s the total?

“$375.06. We lost everything,” Ives says. “We tried and tried and tried to save it. We got a generator. The generator died. It’s not been fun.”

Friday around noon, the Grove City Wal-Mart was fully stocked with milk, meats and produce. That wasn’t the case at a Kroger at North High Street and North Broadway in Columbus. It appeared that most anything that had to be refrigerated was out of stock. Shopper John Edgar:

“They have everything but meat eggs and milk and frozen items.”

The difference? The Kroger store only had its power restored Friday morning and clerks were still in the reordering process.

According to Amy Barlow, media relations manager for Kroger’s Columbus division, the chain’s other supermarkets are operating normally.

“Kroger stores are up and running with power so all of our employees are working long hours working hard trying to get all our perishables restocked due to the fact of the power outage,” Barlow says. “And then working with our Delaware distribution center, we’re very fortunate to have them right here in Ohio and right here in Delaware able to service us quickly.”