The demand for water in advance of Hurricane Irma’s potential to hit York, Chester and Lancaster counties led to all bottled water being sold out temporarily at one store at least, and for area Walmart stores to suspend online grocery service until Sept. 16, store officials said.
The Dave Lyle Boulevard superstore and some other stores in the Carolinas region sold out of bottled water at different times Thursday, store manager David Wood said.
The Rock Hill store expects supplies throughout Friday and the weekend, and customers who want water can call the store first, Wood said.
There have been spot outages of bottled water at some stores in areas likely to be affected by Irma from Florida to the Carolinas but distribution trucks from areas as far away as Pennsylvania and other parts of the country are re-supplying stores, said Ragan Dickens, spokesman for Wal-Mart’s corporate office.
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“We are resupplying as quickly as possible,” Dickens said.
Several area Walmart stores posted on Facebook just before noon Thursday that because of Hurricane Irma, stores are halting online e-commerce services, including same-day pick-up and delivery.
Posts for Tega Cay, two stores in Rock Hill and Indian Land said: “Due to hurricane Irma we are closing down all E Commerce operations which include Pick Up Today and Online Grocery Shopping. We plan to resume regular operations on September 16, 2017 unless conditions change. Thank you.”
Dickens, the spokesman for Wal-Mart’s corporate office, said the chain “paused” those services to make sure that employees could better serve the larger than normal influx of store customers in states where Irma is expected to have an impact.
Other area stores say their shelves are still stocked. Publix stores in the Charlotte area have water, but quantities vary by store, said Kim Reynolds, media and community relations manager for Publix Super Markets, Charlotte Division.
“In general, our Charlotte area stores are in good shape in regards to basic hurricane supplies including non-perishable foods, bread, flashlights, batteries, etc.,” she said. “We are working closely with our suppliers and are dedicated to getting water replenished as fast as we can. At this point, we are not limiting quantities of water per customer, but continue to monitor.”
Publix is headquartered in Lakeland, Fla. Irma, which devastated several Caribbean islands Tuesday and Wednesday, is forecast to reach south Florida on Friday and move up the East Coast, according to weather experts.
Reynolds said Charlotte area stores are serviced by its Atlanta distribution center.
Smaller stores such as Mr. Express convenience store in Rock Hill filled the void, but had limited cases of water available from vendors because of Irma, said store owner Ray Geran. The store also is selling larger amounts of soft drinks to people who might need supplies, he said.
Customer James Honeycutt of Rock Hill bought 10 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew and planned another trip for cases of water to make sure his family is taken care of.
“It’s all because of the storm,” Honeycutt said.