Storm stifles stores |

Storm stifles stores

Grocers await stock for shelves

Alexis DeLaCruz

— Empty cardboard boxes littered grocery store aisles in Steamboat Springs on Saturday morning as employees worked to stock shelves emptied during the past couple of days.

The blizzard that slammed the Front Range on Wednesday prevented semitrailers loaded with food from reaching Safeway and City Market. And, although Denver is beginning to unbury itself, Steamboat’s grocery stores were still feeling the effects Saturday of not receiving food shipments.

“We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got,” City Market store manager Margie Morong said. “You just can’t control Mother Nature.”

City Market’s produce section was sparse Saturday morning, and its dairy products were almost gone. Employees hung signs above the milk and eggs cases apologizing for the lack of groceries.

“We apologize for our stock levels. We are experiencing transportation issues due to the blizzard in Denver. Thanks for your understanding. Happy Holidays,” the signs read.

Morong said the store is scheduled to begin receiving normal deliveries now that trucks can get out of Denver and on to Steamboat.

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Safeway’s shelves also were sparse Saturday morning, although the store’s supplies were buoyed by a shipment that arrived early Saturday morning. That shipment included produce and dairy products.

“We had as many employees as we could helping unload our truck (Saturday morning) to get the milk and the eggs on the shelves,” Safeway head clerk Amanda Sweitzer said.

Safeway usually receives one or more semitrailers of food a day, but the store didn’t get any shipments Thursday and only received limited shipments Friday.

“Our shelves were pretty much empty Friday because people were coming in and trying to get what they needed for their holiday baking,” Sweitzer said. “People were definitely a little frustrated because we had no eggs and no milk.”

Sweitzer said cancelled flights at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden also affected the store’s business.

“Usually people come into town and come grocery shopping,” she said. “Well, since we didn’t have (as many) people flying in, we didn’t have anyone shopping.”

That shouldn’t be the case any longer.

YVRA officials anticipated one the busiest arrival days on record Saturday, with nearly 1,600 passengers scheduled to fly into the Hayden airport. All flights were scheduled to arrive without major incident, except for one United Express regional jet service flight that was cancelled Saturday morning.

The arriving flights were particularly full as airlines attempted to accommodate passengers whose flights were cancelled during the previous three days, officials said.

And with flights back to normal, Sweitzer expects today to be Safeway’s busiest day of the holiday season.

“Things should be back to normal, barring any freak snowstorms,” she said.