Grocery stores seeing empty shelves ahead of weekend winter storm

CHARLOTTE — As a winter storm bears down on the Carolinas, many essentials at local grocery stores are becoming hard to come by.

On Friday, shoppers at Food Lion in east Charlotte were there for one thing.

“Getting groceries and getting ready for the storm,” said Aundra Palmer.

Palmer has lived in the Queen City long enough to know it’s best to be prepared.

“Because we don’t really know until it starts to come,” she said.

And she’s not alone. Shoppers Channel 9 spoke with said they grabbed the essentials amid a limited selection.

“I picked up bread, I picked up some juice,” said Palmer. “It was a little thin, but they were stocking.”

It’s a different story across social media, where grocery stores, like one in Gastonia, have been picked over. But it’s not just the rush before the storm.

In an email to shoppers, Harris Teeter said it won’t offer e-Vic member discounts this week, noting supply chain issues and staffing challenges. The president of the National Grocers Association said shipments are scarce and consumer demand is driving up prices -- paired with delays from previous storms.

“We will continue to face supply challenges,” said National Grocers Association President and CEO Greg Ferrara. “Those challenges will be sporadic, and they will impact different areas at different times.”

For Charlotte, some shoppers said that time is now.

While stores are working to keep shelves stocked, winter is underway, and the omicron variant of COVID-19 is still spreading with the supply chain stretched thin. Still, others are making do to ensure they can get through the weekend, whatever it may bring.

“It’s just a matter of keeping the growls out of your tummy while you’re waiting for the power to come back on,” Palmer said.

Ferrara said relief could come once we get past this storm -- and the surge in COVID cases.

Channel 9 has reached out to other stores, like Food Lion and Publix to find out how they’re handling the winter weather. So far, we have not heard back. Target said they are not adjusting hours and do not anticipate limiting items per customer.

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