Havre Daily News - News you can use

Stores dealing with coronavirus-caused runs on merchandise

 

March 16, 2020

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Lifetime Havreite and former speaker of the Montana House of Representatives Bob Bergren waves at a passing car while standing out in the snow Saturday outside of Gary & Leo's Fresh Foods handing out free toilet paper to people who need it.

Gary & Leo's Fresh Foods is among one of the businesses affected in Havre by the coronavirus.

The store's co-owner and manager Tracy Job said he has seen a lot customers with anxiety buying and stocking up on things that they normally don't.

"I think there's just a lot of nervousness, uncertainty going on for sure, so till our country gets through this corona crisis I think it's going to continue," he said.

The items, he said, he sees people stocking up on are bath tissue, disinfectants, bleaches, personal hygiene products, over-the-counter medications, canned goods and more.

With toilet paper, for example Gary & Leo's can't hardly keep it in stock, he said, adding that as of Friday the business was completely out of it until it was restocked Saturday morning.

"Our warehouses are doing a real good job supplying us, but I don't know for how much longer," Job said. 

He said with bath tissue it is stocked at least five times a day if the supplies are there on hand, adding that Gary & Leo's gets deliveries three times a week from their warehouse located in Billings. 

He said United Natural Foods wholesale company supplies Gary & Leo's, which is one of many independent grocery stores it does business with. 

At this point, Gary & Leo's will not be putting a limit on an amount of items people can purchase, he said.

"I'd like (the customers and the community) to know we appreciate their support, we're happy that they are counting on us to meet their needs and we're going to do everything we can to just that," Job said "We got a hard-working team here and they're going to work hard together. They always do and we're going to make it happen for folks to the best of our abilities. We want them to know they can count on us."

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

The shelves normally stocked with toilet paper and paper towels are seen largely empty Sunday at Gary & Leo's Fresh Foods.

One local Havre man, Bob Bergren, a former speaker of the Montana House of Representatives, stood outside of Gary & Leo's Saturday passing out free toilet paper to the community.

"There's a lot of concern with folks with toilet paper shortages, and I know it creates a lot of anxiety with people and so I thought if I could relieve a little bit of stress, maybe put a smile on somebody's face when they drive by and wave, that's OK," he said.

He said he bought $100 of toilet paper and is not sure if he's going to continue handing it out it every day, but will do it until he runs out.

"When you help other people you don't have to worry about yourself, so I think as a community if we just get together we can get through it one day at a time. Remain calm and be diligent I think we'll get through it," Bergren said.

 

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