PARIS, Ill. (WCIA) – If you were out grabbing last minute items before the storm hits, you probably waited in a long line. Stores were packed across Central Illinois Wednesday.
“We just did more than two days worth of work today,” Pharmacist and Pearman Pharmacy co-owner Dustin Melton said.
It’s been an especially busy week for grocers and pharmacists. In addition to winter weather, they’re dealing with the usual holiday crowd and supply chain issues.
“Any time there’s a holiday week, and sickness going around, we are always busy,” Melton said.
Try adding a severe winter weather forecast to the mix.
“But with the weather coming in tomorrow, we’ve just been extremely busy. We had four delivery guys running all day long,” he said.
With Christmas just days away – sub-zero temperature predictions and several circulating viruses are creating the perfect storm for panic shopping, plus busy drug and grocery stores.
“Some of the medications for flu – to reduce the symptoms – [have] been in short supply,” Melton said.
Melton isn’t the only Paris business owner seeing increased traffic this week.
“Yesterday was really crazy, today was really crazy. We’ve had to refill our meat case and dairy three or four times now,” Tiger Market owner Randy Winkler said.
Employees say it felt like more restocking in one day than Tiger Market has done since the store opened in early November.“
“Usually our meat case pretty much once or twice, but not up to what we’ve seen in the past 48 hours or so,” Winkler said.
Winkler said customers have bought up every jug of regular milk.
“They’re just worried about how bad the storm is going to get,” he said.
Staff will be back bright and early Thursday to replenish the shelves, but the looming wintry conditions could disrupt the rest of the week.
“I’m hoping we’ll be open but whatever the weather and the officials say we need to do is what we’ll do,” Winkler said.
He doesn’t want to put his employees at risk, so he said shoppers can call before heading to Tiger Market later this week to make sure they’ll be open. As for Pearman Pharmacy, Melton said they might need to close a little early, but he’ll be around to get you what you need.
“I don’t live that far away and I have a 4-wheel drive truck so I will be here,” Melton said.
Melton is asking people to be patient with pharmacists, doctors and grocery store staff members over the next few days. They’re all working extra hard to help.