Hills Grocery Store

Randy Spivey, Hills manager, concerned about when he can get his shelves restocked after Hurricane Florence and the flood that hit the area recently.

Things are slowly getting back to normal at grocery stores around Loris, but for more than a week after Hurricane Florence passed, it was slim-pickings on the shelves.

Before the storm, residents hit the stores hard buying up nearly everything for their hurricane survival kit.

Then, a combination of flooded roads and distribution warehouses being in areas severely damaged by Florence, caused the shelves to stay bare for an extended period of time.

Randy Spivey, manager of Hill’s Grocery in Loris, said he was able to reopen days after the storm, but the selection customers found was minimal.

“I came in and checked everything. We had power so I checked the refrigeration area and the temperatures were still good,” Spivey said.

That was important because it meant all the frozen food items were still safe to sell. Spivey said all those types of foods had to be thrown out after Hurricane Matthew because the power was out for so long.

“We have been helping the community the best we can since we reopened,” Spivey said during an interview last week. “We have had no deliveries so our supplies dwindled to near nothing.”

He said to keep bread available, he personally drove to a Hill’s Grocery in Whiteville and picked up a load for the Loris store.

Spivey said the biggest problem has been the fact the store’s main supplier is in Lumberton, N.C., a place hard hit by Florence, and trucks were unable to get out.

Spivey said he expected most of the shelves would be “back like they are supposed to be” this week.

“It has been very tough with people not being able to find what they want,” Spivey said.

One woman was in the store during the interview disappointed there was no Diet Pepsi on the shelves. Right before she left, the Pepsi delivery truck showed up for the first time since before the storm.

Spivey has managed the store since 2009 and said because the power was out for such a short amount of time, in some ways Florence was not as bad of a storm for the store as Matthew in 2016.

He said Matthew was worse because of the amount of food the store had to discard but the supply issues are worse during this storm.

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