DENVER (KDVR) — The first reports of coronavirus triggered panic buying at Denver grocery and convenience stores — toilet paper, sanitizers, even most foods were flying off the shelves faster than stores could keep up with.
Now, weeks in, many products are back – except toilet paper.
“We don’t have an issue with access to supplies, it is more of an issue with getting those products from our warehouse to our stores and on our shelves,” King Soopers Corporate Affairs Manager Jessica Trowbridge said, adding, “As soon as items are coming into the store, they are being taken off the shelves and purchased.”
FOX31 went down a list of local grocery stores in Denver Friday, calling to see if they had toilet paper for purchase. By 11 a.m., five local stores said they were wiped out.
“You have to be here at seven in the morning to try to find it,” a Safeway employee said.
As of Friday morning, Amazon offered $40 bulk packs of 10 toilet paper rolls with 12 to 20 day delivery.
Costco’s website shows most of their toilet paper products were sold out in the metro area Friday afternoon. Deliveries of the toilet paper products that were in stock would arrive in four to five days.
“The toilet paper manufacturers were caught a little bit off guard at how much supply would be needed this year,” Colorado Retail Council President Chris Howes said.
Howes tells FOX31, toilet paper manufacturers forecast production amounts based on last year’s sales and a toilet paper freak-out in 2020 was something no one predicted.
However, manufacturers are still delivering plenty to supply Denver’s residents.
“This is not like a blizzard this is not like a hurricane the roads are open and the supply chain is strong,” Howes said.
Howes says fearful folks taking more than they need that are putting local stores in a real bind.
“The more that you take off that shelf and store in your basement there will be so much less left for your neighbor, the grandma off the street, or your grandfather,” Howes said.
To try to help their neighbors out of this stinky situation, Chocolate Lab Denver is selling off rolls of toilet paper and even delivering them to customers along with takeout.
“It’s something new, but crazy times call for creative measures,” Chocolate Lab owner Phillip Simonson said.
Simonson says letting people buy up to eight rolls is helping them keep the doors open during these unprecedented times with sales down about 78 percent currently.
“We started this on Monday, we’ve gone through one case already which is 60 rolls and yesterday I sold another 40 or 50 of them.”