Residents stock up for weekend storm
A sign outside of Mason’s Cold Beer in Jim Thorpe advertises the staples. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Bread and milk are still at the top of the list when it comes to the must-have items for hunkering down while the snow falls, but grocery stores aren’t the only businesses booming when the forecast gets nasty.
Beer distributors and Wine and Spirits stores are also reporting increased sales within the past 48 hours.
Outside of Mason’s Cold Beer in Jim Thorpe, a sign on Friday had checkmarks next to the words milk, bread and eggs, with the box next to the word beer still to be filled in.
“We’re a new distributor so this is one of our first experiences, but the last 48 hours have definitely been a frenzy,” said Todd Mason, owner. “When you get that storm forecast, people know they’re going to be staying in the house, so they want to stock up.”
Location is also key in analyzing sales. Mason’s is located right next to the Jim Thorpe Market and a new Wine and Spirits shop. That all adds up to what Mason figured to be a busy Friday afternoon.
“It’s kind of been fun to just sit and watch the people,” he said Friday around noon. He said he normally sees a spike when work lets out. “I figure between 3 and 6 p.m. today, we might be directing traffic out front.”
Quantity is also of utmost importance to customers at Zig’s Beverage in Weissport. Owner Sharon Ziegenfuss said Friday that most people were increasing how much beer they buy.
“We had one guy come in today and say if I’m going to be snowed in, I’m going to have beer, and he bought four cases,” she said. “People who usually buy one case, they are buying two. It’s been steady.”
It isn’t just the beer stores who will be counting cash as the flakes accumulate. Wine and Spirits stores across the state also average more customers leading up to a winter storm.
“Generally speaking, winter storms are busier than the tropical storms,” Shawn Kelly, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said. “It’s difficult to say if there is a top selling product. Every area is different.”
Kelly said he figures this storm to provide better sales than the one in mid-November because of the forecast buildup this time around.
“In November, I don’t think we were figuring to get that much snow and then we kind of got hit hard,” he said. “Sales are really dependent on the forecast and not the actual snowfall amount.”
The last-minute stops picked up as the National Weather Service issued a Code Red winter storm warning.
Like beer stores, a lot of Wine and Spirits shops are located in close proximity to grocery stores. Kelly said that isn’t by accident.
“It gives you that one-stop shopping opportunity,” he said.
While Kelly wasn’t able to pinpoint a more popular wine or liquor leading up to a snowstorm, Mason did see a trend in his customers’ choices.
“Our best sellers are always Miller Lite, Yuengling, Keystone Light and your general beers,” he said. “This week, however, I’m seeing a lot of people get their usual case of Miller Lite, but also pick up a six-pack or two of craft beer. I guess they’re getting that little extra in case things get bad.”
Zig’s figures to be busy even on Saturday even if it does snow.
“We’re in town so the foot traffic is still there,” Ziegenfuss said. “We also have rock salt, so with the ice (in the forecast) people are coming for that as well.”
People are still getting the usual staples as well. Chris Anthony, owner of Country Harvest Family Market in Palmerton said business was “brisk” on Thursday and Friday.
“Bread, milk, eggs and a lot of bottled water is what has been flying out of here,” Anthony said. “I think with the ice, a lot of people are afraid of losing power, so we brought in some extra bottled water. Batteries are another popular item. The frozen food department is slow because of the possibility of people losing power.”
Anthony said business will likely stay steady through Saturday morning and up until the storm starts.
“After 1 or 2 inches is on the ground, we usually slow down,” he said. “Our population is very local and tends to be on the older side, so they do their stocking up in the days leading up to the storm.”
According to AccuWeather officials, the region can expect to see an average of 4-8 inches of snow this afternoon, followed by sleet and freezing rain into the evening and early Sunday morning.