Houston grocery stores hope to be back to normal 'within a week'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Grocery stores and local markets in the Houston area have been staying extremely busy this week as people are trying to stock up on water, replace the food that spoiled during the winter storm, getting cleaning supplies or buying more items to help keep them warm.

Houston resident Sabra Pande said he stood in a long line at Randall's early Friday morning, then later stopped at H-E-B to stock up on water.

"I wanted to get restocked so I got some more water and just some bread and eggs," Pande said. "Everything you need is there. It might not be your usual brand, but there's enough there. It's just tough times, but I just want everyone to stay positive, stay thoughtful, be kind and just help one another."

Michael and Helene Snyder also looked to buy more groceries at Rice Epicurean Market that they couldn't find at other stores.

"It was a madhouse at Kroger, and Whole Foods was a little bit less crowded," Michael said. "But, none of them had a lot of water. Kroger brought some Dasani out at the last minute, so we'll have some of that. We'll be able to survive for a few more days."

H-E-B currently has purchase limits on certain products such as water, bread and eggs. You can find the updated list on the store's website.

Lisa Helfman, the public affairs director for H-E-B Houston, said the boil water notice or no water service in some cases has impacted H-E-B stores.

"Most people don't think about all the in-store production, whether it's in the deli or produce or sushi, and all of those things we need water," Helfman said. "We need water for our employees to use the bathroom when they need to, so wherever we needed it we put Porta Potties in. We have a water supply that is helping with production, so we do not get affected by the boil water notice."

Helfman also said there are 1,500 H-E-B trucks on the road statewide, which is equivalent to what H-E-B provides the week of Thanksgiving, to bring products to stores and help restock the shelves.

"Every day it's going to get better, and we expect it to be the H-E-B you know and love within a week," she said. "Just like you're restocking your fridge, we're restocking our stores."

Obena Ntoso, a Houston mother of three, said she made her daily trip to H-E-B Friday morning to get more supplies and water to last her family the next few days.

"It was limited, two per customer," Ntoso said, referring to the gallon jugs of water. "I think it is pretty considerate so that everybody in the neighborhood can have at least something to drink or something to wash with."

SEE RELATED STORY: These are the places giving out free water due to outages

Joe Kelley, the president of Kroger's Houston division, spoke to ABC13 on Thursday. He said the grocery chain is planning to have 12 million cases of bottled water delivered to its stores to meet the need for water supply.

Kelley said the widespread power outages due to severe weather caused a ripple effect, impacting its stores, employees, warehouses and supply chain.

"We will get through this together," he said. "We are going to take care of our communities. I've already been in touch with numerous hospitals, as well as the mayor and Judge Lina Hidalgo, as well as the food banks. We will provide water to those organizations as well. We will get the supply chain up and running very quickly."

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