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Heflin’s grocers rush to keep up with demand in virus crisis

Piggly Wiggly

Heflin resident Angelia Hall waits in the meat department at Piggly Wiggly for a pack of pork chops on Monday.

HEFLIN — A steady stream of customers shuffled in and out of the WM Grocery Monday morning as cashiers were busy ringing up sales due to the increased demand over the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Luke Bowman, manager at the grocery store, was busy helping customers and suppliers and trying to keep up with the increased demand.

“It’s wild,” Bowman said. “A lot of people are rushing in trying to get some things ’cause of the fear factor and stuff. We’re stocked pretty good; our warehouse has kept us in stock pretty good,” said Bowman. 

Bowman said it looked like a bomb had gone off in the store but the essential items are in stock.

“Our meat sales are through the roof right now and everybody’s trying to stock up, we’re doing pretty good,” Bowman said.

Bowman said that a more intense regime has been implemented to keep the store clean.

“Our cashiers have to clean everything every hour, wipe down every buggy. Our cases are cleaned every hour,” said Bowman. 

Bowman said that starting last Thursday demand has surged.

“This is the third day in a row we’ve had people waiting outside to get in when we open the doors,” Bowman said.

At the Piggly Wiggly starting on Wednesday free home delivery will be available for customers requesting it.

Denise White, who owns the Piggly Wiggly with her husband Danny, said people can call the store and place an order and pay for it over the phone with a card.

Orders can be placed in the morning from 8 a.m. to noon and the groceries will be delivered within a 10 mile radius of the store in the afternoon from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

White said she wanted to keep the community as safe as possible and serve her neighbors’ needs.

“We just decided to do this as a way of helping, especially our eledery and disabled. The government is recommending them stay inside,” said White.

White said that the state has imposed no regulations about how many customers can be in the store at any given time. 

White said all employees met Monday morning about how to continually keep the store clean and sanitized.

White said the only time she can remember the store as busy was back in the blizzard of 1993.

“But even with that it wasn't to this magnitude. With the blizzard of ’93 most people were not able to move and travel. With this people are able to get out and travel but can’t, it’s been pretty challenging dealing with it,” said White.

White said the fastest selling items are meats and milk, but no limits have been set on how much a customer can purchase. 

Heflin resident Angelia Hall, 43, was waiting at the meat counter in the rear of the store waiting on pork chops. 

“I’m just buying like normal, no reason to be excessive about it, because everybody else has to eat too,” said Hall.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.