Southern New Jersey grocery and hardware stores and gas stations saw continued heavy activity Saturday as people made preparations for dealing with Hurricane Sandy.
The effects of the thunderstorms in late June were having an impact on what people were buying to survive Sandy.
Electric generators were hard to find with the memories of being without power fresh. People bought canned tuna and other meats that did not need to be refrigerated instead of purchasing freshly cut pieces of beef and chicken. The state of emergency declared by Gov. Chris Christie on Saturday only increased the number of people out looking for supplies.
A sign on the window greeted shoppers Saturday afternoon at the Ace Hardware store in the Tilton Shopping Center in Northfield.
The store was sold out of generators, gas cans, flashlights, lanterns, radios, sands bags, lamp oil and two types of batteries — size D and the 6-volt square lantern-type.
Roberta Jensen, the Ace Hardware store manager, told customers she was expecting a truck to arrive Saturday afternoon to provide more gas cans, D batteries, flashlights, lanterns and radios. The demand for these items on Saturday would determine whether any would still be on store shelves today.
“We don’t have cases of water. We are out. It is on order for Monday,” said Jensen, who added her store will be open on Monday unless Gov. Chris Christie’s state of emergency changes to include no road travel.
Jensen said 12 generators were reserved for her store for Monday, but there was no guarantee that she would receive them.
Customers were buying candles, extension cords, C and 9-volt batteries, fire logs, tarps, rope, duct tape, coolers, bungee cords, can openers and sump pumps, Jensen said.
Jim Conahan, 65, of Northfield, walked out of Ace Hardware with a sump pump.
Conahan wanted to be ready to use the sump pump on his yard to keep his basement from flooding. He said he was hammered by the June thunderstorms. He lost trees, and a tree hit his house.
“I bought water yesterday. I have more water than I ever could drink,” Conahan said. “Ready or not, it will be here.”
The Rite-Aid on North Main Street in Pleasantville had a sign on its window early Saturday morning telling its customers to get stocked and make sure they have such items as nonperishable foods, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, candles, extra batteries and first-aid supplies.
Plenty of cars filled the parking spaces Saturday afternoon of Genuardi’s supermarket in Egg Harbor Township.
The supplies of certain items were depleted after two days of well-above-average shopping, said Paul McCloskey, Genuardi’s store manager. Canned meats, peanut butter, instant noodles and canned soup were flying out of the door. The store ran out of bottled water on Friday, but 15 pallets of water arrived Saturday. There are 72 cases of water on a pallet.
“We ran out of dry ice yesterday (Friday). I’m not counting on getting any more,” said McCloskey, who added his store was also out of bananas by Saturday.
John Brennan II, 52, of Northfield, was at Genuardi’s on Saturday afternoon buying more bottled water, hot dogs, cookies and bread.
“I’m just making sure people have plenty of food. I hope it will not be as bad as they say it will be,” said Brennan, a retired Atlantic City fire captain who was already prepared with candles and a radio at his house.
Linwood Gulf was only selling its regular gasoline for $3.59 a gallon, but it was out of gasoline by late Saturday afternoon. More gas was supposed to be coming today. Many places were out of gasoline, said Joe Martin, a Linwood Gulf attendant. An employee at the Lukoil station in Somers Point said the station was so busy on Saturday that it expected to run out of its $3.61-per-gallon regular by sundown Saturday.
Contact Vincent Jackson: