South Mississippi grocery stores struggling to keep shelves stocked
UPDATE: Friday morning, Rouses Diamondhead Store Manager Chuck Clark posted to Facebook that the store just received three trailer loads of food, and that his crew was busy getting it off the pallets and on to the shelves. “We have lots of people working on it so there’s no need to rush in first thing this morning. Please be patient today. It will be a long day for us here but it’s great knowing we have product!”
DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. (WLOX) - Businesses across South Mississippi are finding it hard to stay fully stocked after Hurricane Ida devastated Louisiana this week. With residents coming across the state line in search of necessities and delivery trucks unable to get through, the shelves are empty in some stores.
Keeping grocery stores stocked was a challenge before the hurricane due to the pandemic. Now, with the shelves bare at many stores throughout Hancock and Harrison counties, it is even more of an issue.
The Rouses Market in Diamondhead has been busy all week as residents who live in the area restock their homes following flooding and power outages due to the storm.
“We’ve been very busy since Friday morning with the influx of people coming from Louisiana,” said Chuck Clark, the manager of the Rouses in Diamondhead. “A lot of people are looking for eggs, bread, hot food and produce. It’s just all of the basic stuff. The Diamondhead community is awesome and always wants to help. We have many people here wanting the buy pallets of water to send over there, but I just don’t have the water here.”
Compounding the issue is the fact that Rouses usually gets four shipments a week from its suppliers in Louisiana.
“All of the Louisiana drivers evacuated so there hasn’t been nobody to drive the trailers,” said Clark. “The trailers have been loaded up since Friday and Saturday, but no one there to bring them over to us.”
The Diamondhead store is now getting by with help from other Rouses locations in South Mississippi.
Clark explained that the store had to accommodate by getting products from the Rouses Market at the Gulfport location.
For shoppers, the grocery shortage is making it difficult to obtain items they need, causing them to have to go to multiple businesses to check the items off their list. Overall, though, most customers understand and are making do the best they can.
“It’s a little frustrating but I know that everything is coming from New Orleans,” said Rouses customer Justin Lacoste. “I’m sure once everything gets back and going, it will be fine. I’ve been going to Walmart and other stores in the meantime. I have to ask people what they have and then go there.”
Most in South Mississippi are understanding and compassionate about the devastation suffered in Louisiana after having gone through Hurricane Katrina.
“It’s sad because people down there in Louisiana right now - as hot as it is from the storm - and people not being able to get in stores because they got to wait outside for hours. Plus, they have babies, no one should go through that,” said Rouses customer Rhiannon Penton.
Rouses in Diamondhead is expecting a shipment on Friday morning and plans to restock at that time.
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