Ozark County stores’ supplies of toilet paper, hand sanitizer fly off the shelves as locals and non-locals respond to virus
With confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the rise in the United States, many people have taken to stockpiling supplies for fear they may be directed to self-quarantine as the virus spreads.
Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and rubbing alcohol inventories at Ozark County stores have been nearly exhausted, according to managers of several local stores.
Town & Country Supermarket in Gainesville, Cash Saver Pantry in Theodosia and Dollar General stores in Gainesville, Theodosia and Caulfield have run out – or almost run out – of that merchandise and several other items recently. In some cases, inventories have been depleted, restocked and depleted again multiple times during the past week.
Friday evening, shelves at Town & Country and Dollar General in Gainesville were bare of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, leaving only a few packages of antibacterial wipes and 50 percent isopropyl alcohol available for shoppers.
Town & Country manager Roger Frost said the store went through four pallets of toilet paper Thursday. A shipment of toilet paper arrived Saturday morning, but by Monday afternoon, that supply was also gone.
Frost said he can’t keep hand sanitizer on the shelves either.
“As soon as I put it out, it’s gone,” he said Monday afternoon. “Supplies are getting tighter.”
Friday morning, Dollar General in Gainesville had toilet paper. But by that evening, all but a few rolls were gone.
“I have people coming from Mountain Home (Arkansas), West Plains and Ava buying it,” said manager Anna Kaley. “They said there is no toilet paper in those towns.”
Kaley said hand sanitizer and 70 percent isopropyl alcohol supplies were also depleted. “We still have some 50 percent alcohol,” she said Friday. “But people are wanting the higher percentage.”
People were also buying cold and flu medicines and bottled water in bulk, she said.
Vikki Cook, manager of Cash Saver Pantry in Theodosia, said her store has also been hit hard by the run on toilet paper and other items. When she placed the store’s orders on Friday and Saturday with supplier AWG, no one acted as if there was a shortage of supplies, she said.
However, when the truck arrived Monday morning, half of the supplies she had ordered weren’t on the truck.
Cook said she is trying to keep a supply of toilet paper on hand by putting out the store’s stock in phases, and she may consider limiting the amount customers may purchase.
Like Kaley, Cook said people were coming from out of the area over the weekend to purchase toilet paper at the Theodosia store.
Despite the shortage of supplies currently, AWG is working hard to keep up with the higher than normal demand, said Cook, and deliveries should be back to normal by Thursday.