There's nothing like an impending storm for emptying grocery store shelves. On the other hand, winter storms (think Atlanta a few weeks back) can make it difficult for stores to replenish inventory.
The rush to stores can be particularly intense in places where consumers (think Atlanta) are not used to harsh weather conditions as those in locations (say Green Bay) where temperatures normally plummet and snow falls freely.
A Weather Channel website page includes photo after photo from Twitter showing bare shelves in stores. Of course, grocers are taking steps to minimize the stress their customers and employees feel as storms move in.
"We started to look at the weather this past weekend. We started to see there was potential for weather in the long-range forecast. My team out in the stores had to gear up their orders, because the orders come from different parts of the country," Tim Coggins, a district manager for Kroger told WATE in Knoxville, TN.
While Kroger stores in the area are typically supplied from a distribution center in Atlanta, the storm prompted the chain to instead bring products in from a facility in Louisville, KY.
Editor's note: Consumers have been known to panic in the face of storms. One of my favorite pre-storm moments came back in the winter of 2002 at a local Trader Joe's. When one of the crew saw customers becoming anxious and snippy with other customers and store employees, he got on the intercom and said (paraphrasing), "Attention Trader Joe's customers. We love having you shop our store. It's only a snowstorm. You've seen these before and done just fine. Please have a nice day." (Laughter following and shoppers and crew returned to their normal non-storm states.)
What grade would you give the grocery industry for meeting product demand both before and after major weather events?