Grocery outlets weather the storm

Scrambling to keep up with post-outages demand

Daniel MacEachern
Published on January 8, 2014
Baker’s assistant Helen Ryan puts out more freshly baked bread on the shelves at Bidgoods in Goulds Wednesday. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

Grocery stores on the island weathered the weekend’s power outages just fine. It’s the run on stock since the lights came back on that has them scrambling.

Leslie Bidgood, manager at Bidgood’s in Goulds, said they felt fortunate not to have lost any stock, but they’ve had to bring on extra staff to handle the grocery demand since reopening.

“The main thing that we’re really increasing is our homemade bread,” she said. “As fast as we can get it out, people are just buying it off the shelves. The girls that make the bread, they’ve never sold that many loaves of bread on a Monday and Tuesday, it’s unreal. … We’ve never seen it like this before.”

Bidgood’s is also working to restock its deli.

“We’re putting in extra hours now, just trying to catch up.”

Gerry Tuck, manager of Belbin’s, said his store lost power for just a couple of hours on Saturday.

“We did lose a day’s business on Saturday because we were closed,” said Tuck.

He said he wasn’t worried about losing anything in freezers — the store was much worse off when it lost power for about four days when hurricane Igor hit in September 2010.

“We talked about it then, getting backup generators, and it never did materialize. But I see now my boss has got an email up that we’ve got to sit down and talk about it,” he said, laughing.

The biggest effect of the weather has been in keeping store shelves stocked as orders for staples like meat are delayed, he said, adding he was hoping to get supplies Wednesday.

“We’re still pretty good stocked right now, but if we don’t soon get something in in the next couple of days, we’re going to be pretty well depleted.”

After reopening, customers have been keeping the store busier than normal, said Tuck.

“Why, I don’t know. I think everybody was home and they just cooked more,” he said.

At Foodland in Torbay, manager Debbie Thorne said the store lost business due to outages on Sunday, not stock.

“Sunday was really busy, because we’re here in Torbay and there were a lot of outages on Torbay Road,” she said. “I think most of Stavanger Drive was shut down so we had a really busy day on Sunday, but everything’s back to normal now.”

The weather has affected food deliveries, said Thorne, but the store is only out of minor items.