C-stores Work to Get Back in Business After Hurricane Irene

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C-stores Work to Get Back in Business After Hurricane Irene

By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News - 08/29/2011

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Hurricane Irene roared up the eastern seaboard this weekend, first making landfall in North Carolina before hugging the coast all the way to Maine. By the time it hammered New York City in the early morning hours on Sunday, Irene had weakened to a tropical storm, but despite the downgrade it still packed a punch as millions lost power, roadways were flooded and convenience stores across the Mid-Atlantic and New England region decided to err on the side of caution and close their doors.

Wawa, a major retail chain throughout five states in the region, shut down operations at hundreds of its stores Saturday. On Sunday, approximately 100 locations were without power and Wawa’s facilities, store operations and supply chain teams were making "every attempt to reopen and stock our stores to help people recover from the storm’s impact as soon as possible," according to company statement.

As of 9:30 a.m. today, Wawa had resumed operations at most of those locations except for approximately 40 stores scattered throughout Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

Stewart's Shops, an employee- and family-owned convenience store operator in New York State and Vermont, reported on Sunday that about 50 of its locations were dealing with power issues and several had closed at the request of authorities.

In an open letter posted on its website, Stewart's Shops President Gary Dake thanked customers for their patience and understanding. "We hope any inconveniences have been at a minimum and expect conditions to improve throughout the day," he wrote. "To our partners; I want to express thanks from all of us for your hard work during a very difficult time. You cared as owners for our customers, your co-workers and your shops."

Yet another industry operator that felt Hurricane Irene's impact was Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores. It said it had three locations out – in Skippers, Va., Shartlesville, Pa., and Bordentown, N.J.

On a positive note, before the storm forced c-stores to suspend business as usual, customers flocked to stores and gas stations for last-minute food, supplies and gas.

More than one location found their gas pumps running dry. For example, the New York Post reported this weekend that only one of five gas stations in Rockaway Park, Queens, was open. Yellow tape blocked off all eight pumps at the Mobil station in the Rockaways; and super gas was sold out while regular was low at a Getty station in Red Hook, Brooklyn.