Nebraska Grocery Store Hit Hard By Shopping, Coronavirus Concerns

March 17, 2020 - 1:30pm

Local grocery stores are doing what they can to keep up with demand from shoppers related to concerns from the coronavirus. One store in Gretna is having trouble staying stocked up.

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Executive Director of the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association sent out a tweet today to remind shoppers of public distancing and the work grocers are doing:

“Our clerks are working hard to stock shelves. They are out there working with the general public. Please don't bring your entire family to the store to shop and please observe the 6' distancing rule at all times to keep employees safe!”

Bob McKinney, owner of McKinney’s Food Center in Gretna, said normally his store gets two warehouse shipments per week but he hasn’t had one since early last week. That has left some shelves empty of products like eggs, canned goods, toilet paper and cleaning products.

“I've been in this business for 50 years and I've never seen it like this,” McKinney said. "You get a snow storm you might be down on a day and a half. But you know, the other day and half everything starts to trickle back to normal. I think this is going to be something that’s going to go on for a while.”

McKinney says issues with shipments have been because of a driver shortage. He thinks people are going to big stores first then hitting smaller stores like his store in Gretna. He said they are panic buying.

“Let’s say Walmart runs out of product, so next thing is do they hit another store, a smaller store and then they're out” McKinney said. “So by the time they go out and run (everywhere) everybody is out and now nobody can get caught up as far as getting the product into the buildings.”

On top of that -- he says people are panic buying. So McKinney’s Grocery Store has placed a limit for customers to purchase only one of any particular item. He says the next shipment is expected later this week but McKinney says he isn’t sure that it will come then either.

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