Local stores face shortage of household supplies amid coronavirus fears

Woodman's supermarket in Appleton saw a run on household staples like pasta and ramen noodles...
Woodman's supermarket in Appleton saw a run on household staples like pasta and ramen noodles Thursday. Stores we visited Thursday said they expect to be restocked soon. (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 7:51 PM CDT
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Fear over the coronavirus is causing a run on supplies at a number of stores here in Northeast Wisconsin.

It's been especially noticeable over the past 24 hours. Action 2 News went to a number of stores in the Grand Chute area and found people everywhere stocking up.

Many stores were sold out of items and others were running low, but also telling us additional shipments are on the way.

At Costco in Grand Chute, workers told us they've been sold out of toilet paper and disinfectant wipes for several days. They also don't have hand sanitizer.

Many cleaning supplies, including Lysol, are running low but there is plenty of bottled water (see related story, "


At Target inside the Fox River Mall, there was still some toilet paper Thursday night but also no hand sanitizer or wipes.

Kelsey Keller of Neenah said, "It's basically like empty, and it's kind of weird. Also online, you can't even buy toilet paper on Amazon, and even Target online is maxing out. So really, it's just what's in the store right now. So yeah, it's been crazy." (Related story: "


The situation is similar at Pick N Save on Wisconsin Avenue, where shoppers also saw a message posted addressing the spike in demand where items have run out.

"Basically it was pretty empty in there. They said there's four or five others stores that are already out in the area, so just trying to get some stuff to stock just in case they put us in quarantine or something you know," said Rob Van Riper of Appleton.

Also Thursday night, Wal-Mart on Mutual Way was sold out of toilet paper and other cleaning supplies.

Plus, we found people stocking up on canned goods and even ramen noodles.

Woodman's, which had a fully stocked paper goods aisle on Wednesday, also looked dramatically different Thursday night as people appeared to be stocking up.

Woodman's stores released this statement to shoppers:

"Over the last 48 hours, we’ve received extremely high order volume. With the above in mind, we’re working hard on rapid implementation of a contingency plan in order to reduce the chances of business disruptions. We're identifying staff able to work additional hours and urgently seeking additional temporary staff. This plan will take time to implement, so we ask for your patience and understanding as we will likely not be able to fulfill 100% of orders on time in the interim.

"Woodman’s is also experiencing extremely high purchase volume in-store. While every effort is being made to re-stock high demand products, you should expect higher than usual out of stocks and / or substitutions required. Please utilize our substitution option when adding items to your cart as a secondary measure to increase the likelihood you receive products that meet your expectations. Note that Woodman’s is also beginning to implement maximum order quantities on various items in-store, will be forced to do the same."

Many stores do expect to replenish their shelves soon.

Workers at Costco, for example, told us they expect to have everything restocked by sometime on Saturday.