Richmonders flock to stores for hurricane essentials

Posted at 12:32 AM, Oct 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-28 00:32:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - As Hurricane Sandy bears down on Central Virginia, many Richmonders are flocking to retail stores to stock up on essentials.  At the same time, retailers are working to combat the empty shelves that come with the rush.

At the Home Depot on West Broad St., generators are being loaded into trucks and vans as folks get ready for Sandy.

Demand for generators has been so high that some customers had to wait up to four hours before they could get one.

The long lines even caught store managers off guard at first.

“People were waiting this morning for our first trucks to arrive, but between today and Tuesday morning, we're going to have another 18 trucks of generators come into the stores across Richmond,” says Frank Blake, .

People at the Target just down the road on Broad St. are not just paying Sandy lip service.  They are also using their wallets.

An empty battery center near the front of the store is just one example of how picked through certain items have been the past few days.

“We're running out of water and milk and staples," says Lee McConnel.  "Everybody is coming in looking for flash lights, and we're out of flash lights right now," added the Target store manager.  "We'll be replenishing soon, but right now we're running low on a few items."

While retail stores battle empty shelves as Sandy approaches, disaster relief responders say taking the proper precautions is the right move.

“We preach preparedness all year long.  We hope that's what everyone is doing right now,” says Reggie Gordon, CEO of Virginia Capitol Region Red Cross.

If the stores are out of certain items, like water for instance, Gordon says you may need to get a little creative.

“Get buckets or containers, even a bathtub, and fill it with water so that you can at least be prepared,” says Gordon.

Parked outside their Cary Street office, the Red Cross Disaster Relief truck is ready and fueled, just in case.

To learn more about the Red Cross’ disaster relief effort, you can go to their website at If you wish to donate to the effort, you can do so on their website or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by texting “Red Cross” to 90999 (an automatic $10 donation).