T&D Region stores are trying to keep items on the shelves while residents stock up on supplies they’ll need during a hurricane.

Orangeburg resident Tim Judy spent time buying cables for his neighbors’ generators.

"Proper equipment to hook up generators has been hard to find," Judy said. "A lot of people run out of them as soon as they get them because everybody swarms to the store to buy them.”

Shoppers like Judy were focusing on their must-have items on Friday. That includes bread, water and generators.

Orangeburg resident Sandy Smoak spent her Friday afternoon shopping for a generator at Lowes, even though she thinks the storm is turning away from the region.

Smoak said generators have been difficult to find, although supplies seem to be flowing into the area smoothly.

Bread was also difficult to find.

"I found that at the Dollar General," she said. "Water is coming and going. Walmart told us they have new trucks coming and going."

Lowes Manager Frederick Ravenell said shoppers were looking for water, propane, all-purpose sand, plywood, gas cans, extension cords, flashlights, batteries, lanterns, generators and tarps.

"I think people learned from the flood and Matthew," Robinson said. "They have been coming in a lot earlier once they heard about it so they could be ahead of the ballgame instead of waiting until the last minute."

Columbia Road Piggly Wiggly Manager Jay Cox said the store has been busier than normal all week in anticipation of Irma's impact.

Water and bread have been hot sellers.

"Bread has been flying off the shelves," Cox said.

Daily shipments have allowed the store to replenish its shelves.

Batteries, lunch meats and canned items have been hit hard, Cox said.

Arun George, an employee of the Santee Sunoco, said the station had gas on Friday.

"We just have to think ahead of time. Sales have spiked up about 25 percent to 30 percent over the last whole week,” he said.

"There has not been any break in supply and I don't think there will be any," George said.

Brabham Oil Company spokesman Brab McCully said Irma has created a supply and demand issue with the number of individuals leaving Florida and heading through the area. Brabham owns and operates over 30 Horizon gasoline stations in the region.

"We have been a bit overwhelmed in our area," McCully said. "I don't think you will have a case of no gas anywhere, but your favorite station may be out of gas a day or two and then have gas.

“The increased volume from Florida was unanticipated. It creates a strain, but we will get through it."

McCully does not foresee gasoline prices increasing substantially.

"All supply and demand increases have been built into the system," he said.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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Business Reporter

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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