General News

  • No shortage of food, but grocers limited by rationing of paper products, bread

    Just when Memphis-area grocers thought they’d hit a lull, a buying frenzy exploded again Monday afternoon after shelter-in-place orders from local governments.

    “Once the announcement was made, we got crushed,” Richard James, owner of three Memphis-area Cash Saver stores, said on Wednesday, March 25.

    Early Monday, “we even had a conversation among store managers and myself, ‘Well, it looks like things are going to calm down a little bit,’ ” said James.

    Then, “In a condensed period of time it was probably the busiest day of the last 14 days. We took a deep breath and went, ‘That didn’t last long,’ ” James said.

    Mayor Jim Strickland’s new restrictions on movement in Memphis still allowed grocery shopping as an essential activity, but some people didn’t understand the order and thought it meant martial law, James said.

    “I think there’s a certain amount of fear of the unknown. (People are) not sure what tomorrow’s going to bring, ‘Am I going to be able to leave my home or not?’ ” James said.

    With shelves cleaned out of toilet paper, paper towels, sliced bread, sanitizer, beans, rice, pasta and frozen prepared foods in some stores, grocers said they have every confidence supplies will rebound, but it could take weeks to months.

    Until then, milk, bread and paper products are being rationed to the city’s independent stores by wholesale suppliers, leading to empty shelves soon after doors open during abbreviated store hours. To read more, visit The Daily Memphian.

    Posted: March 27, 2020