'We have done this before': Retailers pivot amid Houston's boil water notice

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
'We've done this before': Retailers pivot amid boil water notice
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Houston grocery stores and restaurants immediately put plans into action after the entire city went under a boil water notice on Sunday.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With the sudden news that the entire city of Houston was under a boil water notice, grocery stores and restaurants immediately implemented plans to allow them to meet customers' needs.

Teresa Dickerson, the corporate affairs manager for the Houston division of Kroger, said they activated their emergency plan Sunday night when the announcement was made. She said their distribution center located in Houston started loading trucks to send to their stores right away.

"We have trucks constantly running (Monday)," Dickerson said from inside their store on Studemont Street. "We will not run out of water in our distribution centers or our reserve because here, of course, we have to prepare for natural disasters, so we were already prepared for what may come."

Dickerson said the rush of customers looking for water started as soon as the news broke Sunday night. The stores have limited their customers to two cases.

On Monday at about 12:30 a.m., Kroger on Studemont Street got a truckload of water immediately put out on the store floor, and customers flocked to it.

Alan Cruz was stocking up at Kroger with his two children and pregnant partner.

"(The kids) like to eat fruit (and) wash the vegetables," Cruz said. "Things like that. Just even washing our hands or washing our faces. Hopefully, like I said, it doesn't take too long to get fixed."

Meanwhile, restaurants had to decide whether or not to keep their doors closed.

Frank's Pizza in downtown did not open on Monday. Customers were met with a sign on their door saying they were closed because of the city's boil water advisory.

The owner told ABC13 that they did not learn about the news until Monday morning and did not have time to make other arrangements. He said they use a lot of water to wash vegetables, make dough, wash dishes, and more. They are hopeful to get back to business as usual on Tuesday.

Dimitrios Fetokakis, the owner of Niko Niko's, immediately contacted his staff Sunday night after learning about the disruption on Twitter.

"You call everybody. All the restaurants, you tell them to boil water," Fetokakis said. "Let it cool overnight, so we can have it for the morning."

Fetokakis said they were continuing to boil water as needed during the day. They did not serve tea, coffee, fountain drinks, or ice.

"We have done this before," Fetokakis said. "We had the freeze. We had the water main break. Now, this."

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