The food shortages, gas rationing and supply chain disruption affecting the West Coast and Interior of British Columbia have not reached Cochrane, but some are nervous the situation could worsen.
Grocery chains Loblaws and Save-On-Foods said food supplies in Alberta have not been disrupted by the flooding last week that cut off Vancouver from the rest of B.C.
An emailed statement from Save-On-Foods to the Cochrane Eagle said shoppers don't need to be concerned and asked people not to panic-buy.
“We understand that these are uncertain times but deliveries continue to all of our Alberta stores with minimal impact,” the email read. “We are continuing to ask our customers to maintain normal shopping habits. Overbuying puts a strain on our ability to get our shelves re-stocked as quickly as we would like.”
Loblaws also responded by email, saying they were working to get goods from Alberta to B.C., where panic buying wiped out grocery store shelves on the lower mainland and in some cities and towns in the Okanagan.
“We are also working to set up deliveries to the B.C. Interior from our Alberta distribution centres to ensure we can continue to serve our communities in their time of need,” read the statement emailed by Loblaws, which owns No Frills and Real Canadian Superstore.
Despite the disruption of trucks and trains coming from the West Coast and holiday supply chain issues due to COVID-19, locals have only seen a small amount of disruption.
Aleathea Keegan of Cochrane was out grocery shopping at No Frills on Tuesday and said she was able to get everything she needed.
“It was pretty good,” she said. “It is stock day and they are putting out stock.”
Jacqueline Degagne said she has two kids with very specific food needs and said she often has to go to several stores to find everything she needs and noted this week it was more difficult to find specialty items. “I’m finding there is a lot less dry-good options,” she said, noting she's not worried about the food supply.
Degagne said she normally waits until the week before Christmas to start buying presents but may start earlier this year.
“I don’t want the shelves to be empty,” she said.
Carmen Oros, co-owner of Sunny Side-Up restaurant in Cochrane, said she hasn't had any problem yet getting food for the restaurant.
“We get most of our usual products locally, so they are all from Alberta,” Oros said. “Our bacon, our eggs, our meats, our sausages — they are from here. Our fruits and vegetables are from out of the country.” The only concern she has is over products coming from overseas through Vancouver. “Those things might have a bit of a problem,” she said.
Aside from the restaurant, Oros said she has some personal online orders that have been delayed.
“My packages usually take seven days but now, it has been 20 days,” she said. One of her packages is coming from Wayfair and they did indicate the delay was due to the flooding in B.C., she said.
Her other packages have been delayed between five days and two weeks, she said.
Bonnie Bend owns Great Things In Store, which carries mostly new children’s clothes and toys and some consignment items.
This year, Bend said it was difficult to make sure the store was well stocked before the holidays.
“We’ve been having issues all through COVID of course,” she said. “Factories have shut down or are operating with fewer staff.”
However, this year it was even tougher to get orders filled, she said.
“We had a lot of notice, we knew this was coming,” said Bend. “Other than the flooding in B.C., that was something that nobody saw coming and I feel for the B.C. stores that can’t get any products at all.”
This spring she started ordering for the winter and holiday season and as suppliers notified her that her order was short, or cancelled, she would look for new suppliers.
“By the summer we were starting to get really clear signals that you can’t just expect to place an order and have it on your shelves within a week,” she said. “We are going to have delays on products and so we’ve had lots of warning and seen it coming and we’ve been able to adapt.”
Bend said she over-ordered to ensure they would have stock before Christmas.
“You definitely aren’t going to come into our store and think it is empty,” she said.