With one snowstorm behind them and another moving in, area residents laid in groceries and supplies last weekend, preparing for the worst.
Sales at the Pratt Dillons store compared to the weekend before Christmas, according to Sheila Lowrie, spokesperson at the Hutchinson office.
Record numbers of customers were stocking up on the essentials — milk, eggs, bread and ground beef — and the makings for comfort foods like chili and chicken and noodles, along with snacks for the kids.
The store did run out of some items, like eggs, but by late Tuesday, store manager Keith Worsham reported they had "recovered quite nicely," Lowrie related.
With its perishable foods warehouse and dairy both in Hutchinson and the dry goods distribution center in Goddard, stock could be replenished as quickly as roads were passable, and additional drivers were brought in to help. One delivery had already been received on Tuesday and more are scheduled throughout the week.
Walmart manager Sandra Johnson, off for the weekend, came in late Sunday and learned the store had been "hit hard."
Before the storm that moved into the area Sunday night and continued through much of Monday, shoppers were stocking up on diapers, baby food, water, milk and bread. A rack of knitted hats and gloves, strategically positioned near the check-out counters, attracted the impulse buyers.
Once the storm hit, people wanted snow shovels and ice melt. Later, they came in for snow toboggans and inner tubes to play in the accumulation.
Shoppers didn't forget their pets.
"My whole back wall — dog and cat food, kitty litter — was gone," commented department manager Kim Howe, as she was restocking Wednesday morning. "I've never seen it that empty."
The store sold out of baby food on Sunday, but got more in on Monday. The housewares department was also busy — slow cookers were popular to cook those warm meals, and coffee makers were also big sellers.
Items were disappearing from the shelves, and with a number of associates snowed in at home, the store had problems staying ahead of the demand, even if the supply was available.
On Wednesday, some shelves still looked a little empty, but restocking was taking place all over the store.
Anything having to do with snow removal was in short supply all over town.
Skaggs Ace Hardware sold out of shovels but they have restocked. Overall, the storm was a boost to February sales, which are normally slow, owner Bill Skaggs said. Snow blowers sold out, sleds went well and they still have ice melt on hand.
The store remained open throughout both snowstorms, but the biggest problem was getting workers in.
Page 2 of 2 - "We had to go around and pick them up," Skaggs said.
City crews have cleared downtown streets, parking lots are clear (except for the snow mountains ) and Pratt is open for business.