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STL shoppers stock up ahead of first major snowstorm of the year

From snagging the essentials to picking up a few guilty pleasures, the Schnucks in Webster Groves was busy throughout the day with shoppers stocking up
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 9:40 AM CST
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WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. (KMOV.com) - From snagging the essentials, to picking up a few guilty pleasures, the Schnucks in Webster Groves was busy throughout the day with shoppers stocking up ahead of this week’s winter storm.

“I have to have milk, have to have coffee, have to have eggs [and] have to have dog food,” said customer Dennis Hale. “I know it’s coming and I figure I’m going to be snowed in.”

“[It’s] definitely a little crazier than normal,” said Schnucks Store Manager Alma Hill, “And especially on a Monday, we don’t typically have this much foot traffic in the store.”

However, not everyone was buying into the panic of shopping for goods ahead of the region’s first big snowstorm of the year.

“Yeah, it might snow, but the chances of it being a snow where you can’t get around is actually kind of minimal,” said Fred Sheppard, who was shopping for an event with his friends. “They hype it up so much that everybody immediately runs to the store.”

Schnucks workers say they are prepared to meet the crowds ahead of this winter storm, which includes stocking up shelves ahead of time and bringing on more employees during busier shopping hours.

“We definitely make sure we adjust schedules in order to be properly staffed to serve our customers,” said Hill.

“And even though our supply chain is a bit strained, it’s not broken,” said Justin Goodson.

Goodson is an Associate Professor of IT Management in the Chaifetz School of Business at SLU. He says a winter storm on top of existing supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic could impact availability of products if the demand is high.

“And that simply means that people are going to have to wait if material runs out on the shelves,” said Goodson.

However, Schnucks and other major chain grocery stores prepare in advance for the demand for hot-ticket items like eggs, milk and bread in advance.

“My store in particular, we got an additional 200 cases of product for customers,” said Hill.

A Dierbergs spokesperson tells News 4 they are also ready for the winter crowds by modifying their delivery schedule early this week to ensure ample supplies are available for pick up.

Yet, it is more than just produce stores expect to see flying off shelves. Places like Edele and Mertz Hardware are also expecting a rush of customers.

“Salt, ice melt, and shovels…ice scrapers, de-icer,” said owner Steve Edele. “We have some early responders that come in and get what they need. But once that snow falls, that’s when we get busy.”

Lucky for customers, Edele says items like salt have not really gone up in price like in years past, and Goodson says he does not expect prices to fluctuate for groceries either.

“If you’re considering panic buying, [you] probably don’t need to do this,” said Goodson. “Maybe you stock up for a few days extra, but beyond this, it’s probably unnecessary.”

The best advice for people doing last-minute shopping for the storm later this week is try to avoid going between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Schnucks expects tomorrow evening to be their busiest time ahead of the storm.