SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Are you having trouble grabbing food, toilet paper, or other essentials at the store? Is that the result of a drop in supply, or are stores just struggling to keep up with how fast items are flying off the shelves?
A San Diego store manager said many stores are simply waiting on deliveries.
“We had bread delivery this morning, and the bread was gone in like eight minutes. There’s plenty of food in the warehouse. The warehouses are just struggling with delivery to get it to the retailer,” said Keil’s store manager of 30 years, Brian Haire.
Keil’s in San Carlos, like other grocery stores across the country, is struggling to keep certain foods on the shelves amid the coronavirus outbreak. Haire has put limits on hot items, such as bread, eggs, and all paper products - which his store is out of and does not expect to get until Tuesday.
"All stores are in the same boat. They are waiting for the manufacturers like Charmin at this point,” said Haire.
Keil’s was fully stocked on perishable items like meat and produce, service deli, liquor, and bakery items, but everything else like canned goods, pasta, and cereals are slowly making their way down the aisle as his store gets a 1,000-case allocation order per grocery load.
“That’s presenting some challenges, but there is food in the warehouse, so there is food on the way and we’re getting loads every other day,” he said.
The Food 4 Less and Ralph’s distribution center in Paramount, California provides food to more than 300 stores in the area.
“There’s food here. There’s food coming in from our warehouse. There’s food exiting our warehouses. We just need to get it to the stores,” said Vanessa Rosales, Food 4 Less director of corporate affairs.
Workers said the big challenge has been getting timely delivery. The warehouse in Los Angeles County has increased loads from 100 to 120 trucks to go out each day.
“There’s plenty of food to go around, we got it here in the warehouse, we are trying to get it out to our stores and to our customers,” Rosales said.
Rosales said the most popular items are toilet paper, milk, eggs, rice, and beans.
“Be patient that the food is there. The food is coming down the pipeline. Don’t overbuy at this point. If you overbuy no one else can get it,” Haire said.
Amid the scarcity, Keil’s has hired 40 extra employees to help meet the demand.
The store has new operating hours starting at 7 a.m. for only senior shoppers, and Keil’s will close at 10 p.m. daily instead of at midnight.