Amazing pics and clips out of eastern North Carolina include not just storm damage, but the hours long lines at a grocery store lifeline.
Harris Teeter was the place to be Saturday, and people were there by the hundreds, and then thousands. In storm-ravaged Wilmington, word spread by mouth and by social media that a single Harris Teeter location was open, the only grocery store in operation in the city of over 120,000 residents, and they came by the score to wait in line, get inside, and get the essentials: Mainly cigarettes, beer, and junk food.
Hey it is the South, y’all.
Several newspapers, local and otherwise, have reported on Harris Teeter’s early opens this weekend. This is from the Daily Mail:
‘It was a mad house out here,’ said Wilmington Police Officer Don Oakes. ‘I don’t know how everybody heard the place was open, but the parking lot was at a standstill. When we saw the numbers of people, we called for backup for crowd control.’
A line that was estimated to take three to four hours long stretched out of the store and around the building as Teeter managers let in a handful of people at a time. Nearly 15 cops made sure no one got out of control and hunted down impatient types jumping ahead in line.
Melissa Harris and her husband drove 30 minutes from Hampstead, one of the hardest hit areas, to grab some supplies.
‘We were in the car assessing the damages when someone on the radio said this Harris Teeter was open,’ Harris said. ‘So we came for chips, donuts, cereal, lunch meats and cupcakes. And my husband needs his cigarettes.’
The Daily Mail has a lot more on the individual stories, as well as some great photos.
A line snakes around the corner as wet and weary #WilmingtonNC residents try to buy food at an open @HarrisTeeter supermarket. Many tell me they will evacuate next time. #HurricaneFlorence2018 #fnr pic.twitter.com/LlMHOrxaEG— Eben Brown (Fox) (@FoxEbenBrown) September 15, 2018
I have never seen anything like this y’all. This is an hour and half long line to get into a Harris Teeter in #WilmingtonNC. They are only letting a certain number of people in at one time. It’s crazy how a natural disaster brings such chaos @WFMY pic.twitter.com/bGpO4BHo3J— Hannah Brewer (@hbrewernews) September 15, 2018
Harris Teeter on College Road reopens in @CityofWilm! Hundreds waiting to find essentials. Over 115k without power in @NewHanoverCo, so some even coming here just to charge electronics. @SpecNewsRDU @SpecNewsILM pic.twitter.com/2wOU9u4DbN— Madison Cavalchire (@MC_Reporting) September 15, 2018
Not too long after that store’s massive crowds, another Harris Teeter opened in the area. This is from the Wilmington local paper, Port City Daily.
At the Harris Teeter near the UNCW campus, located at 820 S. College Road, the parking lot was full, spilling over into the shuttered Dick’s Sporting goods lot next store, as well as onto the curb. A line to enter stretched around the building — some hopeful customers said they had been waiting for about an hour to get into the store; many said they’d heard the store was open from friends, or on social media.
A second Harris Teeter, in Oak Landing shopping center in Porters Neck is also open, according to Harris Teeter’s online re-opening page.
They spoke with the company about the openings.
According to Harris Teeter Spokesperson Danna Robinson, “Harris Teeter worked diligently prior to the storm putting plans into place to mobilize our resources and valued associates, so we could get back into our communities as quickly and as safely as possible. We recognize the importance of providing our neighbors access to food, supplies and medication during times of uncertainty following events like this.”
Robinson added, “We understand there are concerns regarding standing water on the roadways; community members should follow the direction of the state and local officials in that regard when planning to venture out into the community.”
On Twitter you can find people searching for Harris Teeters or reporting that they found an open one, and it’s not just Wilmington. Small towns pummeled by the hurricane are finding it to be the only open store, the only place for water or supplies.
I am now at Harris Teeter charging my phone. This place is packed.— Sharon Whitfield (@sewhitfield) September 15, 2018
Our @MC_Reporting just went live from a Harris Teeter in New Hanover County that just opened and there is a huge line to even get in the store and police are there to help keep order.— Tim Boyum (@TimBoyumTV) September 15, 2018
Fuel company has arrived at Harris Teeter in Leland to refuel their generator pic.twitter.com/I2b4qgbF9o— Kylie Jones WWAY (@kyliejoneswway) September 15, 2018
.@640amWFNC the Harris Teeter on off Rockfish Road is getting shippmemt of bread from the Harris Teeter that is closed on Raeford Road.— Richard Luciano (@RichardLuciano1) September 15, 2018
Kudos to @HarrisTeeter for staying open when they can during Florence. It’s chaotic in here but the employees are doing a great job at keeping things moving!— Amy (@sorandom) September 15, 2018
The company has set up a page where you can check to find one in your area.
Good on you, Harris Teeter.