Stores enjoy a brisk business with post-storm purchases, returns

Those stores that were open in St. Augustine on Tuesday were busy with customers making both post-storm purchases and returns.


While area locations of large chain retailers like Walmart and Walgreens as well as some gas stations remained closed even as local roads and bridges were reopened, other stores saw an overflow of business.

At Lowe’s on U.S. Highway 1, Denise Liedtke was returning a $650 generator she bought last Friday in case she needed it for her home off Old Moultrie Road.

“I was a little nervous about this one,” said Liedtke. “The lights flashed on and off but I didn’t lose power.”

The store also saw returns of other hurricane-related items such as plywood and gas canisters that had not been used.

Meanwhile, others were there to stock up for repair materials. World Golf Village resident Brad Gould was scouring the aisles of Lowe’s for supplies he needed to fix a wooden fence in his backyard, including six-foot planks and posts.

“We didn’t do so badly,” Gould’s wife said. “We were very lucky.”

Aisles carrying roof shingles, tarps and other items used to patch or repair storm-damaged homes were crowded, as well.

Over at Publix in Cobblestone Village — though not the mad rush seen in the days leading up to the hurricane — the store was doing a swift business.

“Everyone’s coming back from the hotels or other places and is trying to get food in,” said customer service associate John Kindorf.

Gail Morrison, who evacuated her Kings Trace home during the storm, was one of those customers. Morrison could be seen stocking up on many items to fill her pantry.

“I didn’t want to take a chance getting stuff in in case my power went,” Morrison said.

It was the opposite case for Nick Johnson who was shopping with his 8-year-old son Tuesday to replenlish his refrigerator with fresh groceries after losing his stock when his electricity went out for about 24 hours.

“The stuff in the freezer did OK,” Johnson said.

Also seeing a lot of business from residents likely tired of eating canned goods and other non-perishables were a handful of fast-food chains and local restaurants that had reopened by Tuesday.