Food, food everywhere and not a single loaf of bread.
Barbourville IGA’s store manager did everything he could to keep the store’s shelves stocked for the onslaught of customers he expected before the winter storm hit.
But for everything he tried, the store’s bread shelves were soon depleted.
“Our bread truck simply couldn’t get here,” said Store Manager Jason Smith. “We stocked up on extra eggs, milk and bread Wednesday and told our drivers we’d take anything we could get. I told them, if you can make it, we’ll take it.”
True to their word, the deliverymen rounded up any extra food they could get from their warehouses and brought them to the store.
But it still wasn’t enough. Thanks to the fact that the community got plenty of notice in advance of the storm, IGA, as well as all of the local stores, were swamped by people stocking up for the weekend.
However, Smith said the store was fully stocked and open throughout the storm.
“We had a lot of good employees step up when we needed them,” said Smith.
As all of the bread in the store was depleted by Saturday, the store’s deli employees came in and began baking lots of fresh bread all through the day. Customers, smelling the fresh baked bread as they walked into the store, seemed more than happy to buy the deli-fresh goods.
Several of the store’s employees walked to work. Several others came in on 4-wheel drives, while other employees who were able to make it in offered pick up others who couldn’t make the drive.
“We knew everyone couldn’t make it in,” said Smith, “and we didn’t want anyone trying to come in and end up getting hurt.”
The store was operating with a skeleton crew. Every register was open, but they were still backed up.
The store’s customers, however, were understanding, and Smith says he greatly wants to thank them for that. Even under all the stress, he says his customers were really nice about it.
“In an crisis like this, you manage the best you can,” said Smith, “and I can’t commend the crews enough for getting the shelves stocked and for coming in to work when they didn’t have to. It was a total store effort, from one department to the next.”