October 23, 2021

Struggling to stay stocked

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Charles Doughty, a frozen/dairy clerk at Tops supermarket in Cortlandville, on Monday, restocks shelves emptied by customers stocking up on food during the growing coronavirus threat.

Canned goods, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, soap, hand sanitizer — they’re all disappearing off shelves at grocery stores and pharmacies faster than employees can restock them.

This has been the case over the past couple of weeks as people prepare to hunker down at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“I’ve stocked up a little bit, nothing crazy,” said Robert Mullener, of Cortland, who was walking down Main Street on Wednesday morning. “I’ve seen people buy like 100 rolls of toilet paper and things like that. But I’m preparing as much as I can without panic buying and things like that.”

He said he stocked up on dried goods and non-perishable items, some bread and milk, as well as cleaning supplies and medicine for his allergies.

Stores across the county are changing hours to meet with the demands of people buying certain items.

Here are some of the changes in Cortland County:

  • Aldi on Route 13 in Cortlandville will close an hour earlier at 7 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. in order to restock shelves.
    A representative of Aldi could not be reached for comment. However, on Aldi’s website the company said it is working with its various suppliers to ensure shelves are stocked. They also noted that some locations may be closed, but could not provide at the time which locations those are. The company also said that store hours could vary from location to location. Signs denoting times are posted
    at Aldi locations.
  • Price Chopper on Route 13 in Cortlandville will no longer run a 24-hour operation, rather opening for the general public at 7 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. The company has designated 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for senior citizens to shop.
  • Tops Friendly Markets on Route 281 in Cortlandville has also changed from being open 24 hours to opening for the general public at 7:30 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. The store will be open to seniors from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
  • Walmart has reduced hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.. with an earlier opening at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays only for customers age 60 and older.
  • Dollar General has reduced how long its stores remain open by one hour — times they are open will vary by location. They have also dedicated the first hour to senior citizens.

Stores are announcing changes weekly, sometimes daily and those changes can be found on the stores website.

But it isn’t just grocery stores being affected — pharmacies are too.

The CVS on Port Watson Street in Cortland has had multiple customers come in looking for cleaning wipes, cleaning product and toilet paper to find that the store had run out and was waiting for a new shipment.

“Our robust supply chain includes hundreds of small, medium and large suppliers, providing us considerable flexibility and adaptability,” said Joe Goode, the senior director of corporate communications for CVS in an email statement.

“We remain in constant contact with our supplier partners, and are onboarding new suppliers in key focus areas, to help respond to this fluid and evolving situation.”

Goode said the company is not planning to close stores and that they are able to provide home delivery for prescription medications and over-the-counter products.

Mullener said while he isn’t stockpiling like crazy he’s still concerned about the spread of the virus.

“Obviously, I’m worried about it because I see it as something that is affecting a lot of people but I’m trying not to panic about it,” he said. “On one hand, it could continue spreading and get worse. On the other hand, I think it could very well spread a little more and then burn out like other viruses do.”