Stores in Wilmington have been increasing their supplies to meet the demand of pre-hurricane shopping as people and businesses prepare for Hurricane Florence, which had strengthened to a Category 4 as of Monday afternoon.
Lowe’s Home Improvement launched an emergency command center for around-the-clock preparations for the hurricane, according to a news release.
The command center opened Sunday in Wilkesboro, where employees are working to get supplies to stores located in areas expected to be impacted by the storm.
The center is working with supply center chain operators and distribution centers across the country.
Lowe’s has shipped more than 325 truckloads of supplies, including generators, bottled water, sand, plywood, chainsaws, trash bags, gas cans and tarps, to those stores.
All Lowe’s locations have emergency backup generators and can reopen quickly when its safe after the storm and/or power outage, states the news release.
The Lowe’s on 354 South College Road got a shipment of generators Sunday where people lined-up hours before the arrival.
With generators in high demand, some local businesses have been working longer hours and ordering more shipments.
Generator Supercenter of Wilmington on 6756 Gordon Road sells and installs residential and commercial standby generators.
Owner Dan Miller said the location has been busy selling generators and still had some available.
“Usually on Sunday we don’t get any calls because we are closed, and we had 50 calls yesterday,” Miller said. “We are very busy. We are trying to figure out how to manage that. Our current customers are important, and we want to make sure that if they ordered a generator that they have that installed.”
The store expects to get more generators and tools to be shipped in after the storm on Monday and Tuesday.
Miller said the store is currently open for its regular hours, but the installation crew will be working extended hours out on the field, including 12-hour shifts.
Miller said his business prepares by having the right supply quantity, ensuring the safety of employees and monitoring the storm to determine whether the store will close.
“We have to order a lot more parts and a lot of more generators in order to keep up with the demand; wires are a huge thing,” Miller said. “The No. 1 thing for us is to make sure that employees are safe.”
Miller said he is not sure when he will close the store, but he will make the decision as the storm gets closer.
Craft American Hardware Inc. at 7002 Wrightsville Ave. has supplies such as water, flashlights, screws, coolers and more. Owner Eric Koreman said the store has been running low on other items like batteries, gas cans and ropes.
Koreman said the store will be receiving more supplies Tuesday morning.
The residential and commercial hardware store also prepares for hurricanes by ordering adequate quantities of supplies before a storm hits, he said.
“We try to order appropriately for the community. At some point suppliers run out from your supplies, then your supplies can’t be shipped,” Koreman said.
One of the most popular hurricane preparation supplies is water, said Kim Reynolds, media and community relations manager at Publix Super Markets Inc.
“Customers are preparing, and water is one of the top items customers are buying,” Reynolds said. “Therefore, we have an additional trailer-load of water being shipped to the area. Its arrival time is still to be determined.”
Publix has hurricane supplies available and Wilmington area stores have been receiving additional supplies such as water, batteries, flashlights, bread, crackers and soup.