The threat of snow is sending Chicagoans grocery shopping early | Jobs Reply

As officials warned Chicagoans of blizzard-like weather expected to descend on the city and surrounding areas on Thursday, residents rushed to buy holiday food early, before icy roads and freezing temperatures made it unpleasant, if not impossible.

“Unfortunately it’s a perfect storm,” said Swetal Patel, managing partner of Patel Brothers grocery store, which has three locations in the suburbs and one in the city. The number of grocery stores in the area is up at least 30% from normal levels for the holiday week as of Tuesday, Patel said.

“No one wants to leave their house for the next two days,” he said.

An employee at Devon Market in Rogers Park said the grocery store saw more traffic Tuesday than usual, even during a holiday week.

“I saw that they bought their groceries again during the holidays,” said the worker.

At noon Wednesday, the parking lot at Jewel-Osco in Uptown was busy but not full. A woman wearing a Santa hat loaded a case of water into the back seat of a car. He said he was preparing for a storm.

Inside, Heather Flamme of Buena Park inspected the egg area. Flamme was in the middle of a pre-hurricane and Christmas shopping spree: “I’ve already been to Aldi, then over to Trader Joe’s. Yesterday I was at Whole Foods,” said Flamme, 48, who had a family flight to O’Hare on Wednesday. “I’m going to fix things because I don’t want to go out again.”

Steve Otis, of Uptown, stopped at Jewel to pick up some general groceries and ham on Christmas Eve. As a lifelong Chicagoan, he also planned to hunt until the storm passed.

“If it wasn’t for the storm, I wouldn’t have gone shopping for most of my Christmas food on Thursday or Friday,” Otis, 64, said.

Jacqueline Moreno, 22, bought essential groceries at Jewel on Wednesday afternoon. A grocer and server, Moreno is scheduled to work Christmas Eve and plans to drive to the suburbs to spend Christmas Day with her boyfriend’s family.

He was just making sure he was covered, he said, “if we can’t get out, or if we can’t go there.”

The grocery store was running out of certain items, like chicken, Moreno said, but it was still well stocked. Inside, the shelves for some types of toilet paper, milk and eggs looked depleted, but there was no apparent shortage of essentials.

Alexa Auld sells at Dom's Kitchen & Market in Chicago's Lincoln Park on Dec.  21, 2022.

Don Fitzgerald, CEO of Dom’s Kitchen & Market, which has locations in Lincoln Park and Old Town, said through the Advocate Wednesday morning that the grocer had not yet seen a push to buy, but expected to see it later. day.

Joe Kolavo, CEO of Pete’s Fresh Market, which has locations in the city and suburbs, said Pete’s also wasn’t seeing panic buying, even though traffic was up significantly before the snowstorm.

“I think we’re seeing people step up their plans in a few days,” Kolavo said. “We’re not seeing like we did at the beginning of the COVID lockdown where people are buying cases of water, toilet paper, things like that.”

Patel agrees.

“The storm will hit, then the storm will pass, life will return to normal on Saturday afternoon,” he said.

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