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Rural grocery stores prepare for another wave of COVID-19, stocking up months in advance

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CIMARRON, Kan. (KSNW) – Numerous grocery chains are looking ahead as many are worried about a product shortage repeat from this spring. 

Essential household items have been in high-demand for months. 

National grocery chains have begun stocking up and rural grocery stores aren’t far behind as they prepare for another wave of the virus and shopper stockpiling.

Cimarron Shurfine Foods is a rural grocery store that serves the surrounding towns in Gray County. 

Owner Gordon Jenkins is working to keep shelves filled.

“Some of the stuff that we pre-book, we’re pre-booking several months out,” said Jenkins.

Disinfectant wipes, canned goods, and name brand paper products are items that have been difficult at times to keep in store. 

The ability to stock shelves has become limited due to stretched manufacturing and transportation.

The problem is ongoing. Clorox CEO announced in August that the Clorox wipes shortage will likely last until 2021, and paper products such as paper towels and toilet paper, have been facing stocking and availability shortages throughout the pandemic.

“Cleaning has been tough all along. Getting Clorox wipes is tough. It seems like you can get a few cases in and it’s gone that day,” said Jenkins.

For local shoppers, they say they are mindful of what they buy, only purchasing what they need at the moment.

“That’s just our normal routine. We’re just buying what we need at the time,” said Trevon Burns, a local community member. 

Jenkins wants to make sure all customers get the goods they need no matter the circumstances.

“We’re continuing trying to make sure we have paper products and fresh vegetables and meats. So, we just keep trying to order those things and make sure we have plenty,” said Jenkins.

Cimarron Shurfine Foods has ordered products months in advance in hopes it will be delivered before current supplies run out.

“We preordered a lot of stuff, a lot of that stuff is not shipping. So, you order it and maybe it’s a month before you get it. But we’re trying to keep the store pretty full,” said Jenkins.

After speaking with several rural grocery store managers in the area, they are all facing similar challenges, working to best serve their customers and keeping essential products available at all times possible.

They do however say one positive that has come from the pandemic is it has kept more people shopping local.

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