Panic buying has been a major issue for grocery stores throughout the country during the Coronavirus pandemic, especially for paper needs like toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. McLean’s local stores are no exception.

While grocery business has been booming for most stores, including Calhoun’s Big Oak General Store and Camron’s Foodliner in Sacramento and Livermore, certain items have been flying off the shelf as soon as they’re stocked, said James Perkins, owner of Big Oak General.

Perkins said he received a shipment Tuesday morning and by that same afternoon, there were already empty spaces on his shelves.

Business, he said, has “actually been going really well … right now, what we would typically order … for about two months, we ordered for one week.”

Perkins said the only items he has had trouble keeping on the shelves are milk, paper products and yeast, all of which the store has not been able to get back in since it ran out of its initial stock.

Camron’s Foodliner in Sacramento has also had issues keeping essential paper products like toilet paper and tissues in stock, as well as eggs, according to manager Dylan Hernandez. Other than those items, he said, the store has been staying well-stocked and customers have been flocking to the store “non-stop.”

“We’re doing pretty decent on staying stocked,” Hernandez said. “For a little while, we were having trouble getting everything, but everything’s smoothing out a little bit. We’re doing pretty good on the meat.”

Stores have also implemented some social distancing and extra cleaning measures to help staff and customers remain safe and healthy as well.

Big Oak General has begun offering curbside service. Perkins said customers can call the store ahead of time and their items will be collected and brought out to their car for them. He has also limited the store to five customers at a time and is limiting hand sanitizer to one per customer.

Camron’s Foodliner announced on Facebook that stores would take extra precautions by cleaning carts after each and commonly touched surfaces. Customers are recommended to use social distancing measures in the store, staying six feet apart from others and avoid bringing more people than necessary along for shopping trips. The store will also provide gloves for employees and customers who want them.

Additionally, Big Oak General Store has been donating Lunchables to help feed children over Spring break as well as providing free lunch at the store for the past three Saturdays. This coming Saturday, the store will offer hamburgers starting at 11 a.m. While lunches are provided free of charge, Perkins said donations will be accepted. All money collected from the lunches will be given to a local organization that provides services to those in need in the county.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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