- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2002

Snow shovels, rock salt, heaters, milk, bread and bottled water flew off store shelves across Washington yesterday as area residents prepared for the first snowstorm of the winter.
"Our stores are busy this afternoon, and we expect that as people get off work, the stores will be even busier," Giant Food spokesman Jamie Miller said yesterday.
"There's definitely increased foot traffic, and people are buying staple items in anticipation of the snowstorm."
As news about the snowstorm spread Tuesday evening, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse in New Carrollton filled with customers looking for products to clear the ice and snow, store manager Quincy Allen said.
"This is a pattern we're pretty familiar with," Home Depot spokesman John Simley said, noting the three top-selling items are various forms of snow melt, shovels and snowblowers. "That's what's being re-ordered."
Potomac Electric Power Co. said its services and backup will be prepared for the expected snow.
"We've checked out our equipment and the inventory in the warehouses to make sure we have what we need. We have ample supplies to deal with any outages," Pepco spokesman Bob Dobkin said. "So we're prepared, and now it's up to Mother Nature."
He said the company is fully capable of business as usual with a dry snow forecast, rather than freezing rain and ice.
Nonetheless, Pepco will have its customer service representatives working overnight for emergency calls, in addition to the regularly scheduled shifts.
"We'll have crews on all through the night, as well as some extra crews for the overnight shift," Mr. Dobkin said. "And in the morning we'll bring in extra crews."
He said issues that usually arise are based on cold temperatures.
Mr. Allen said Lowe's has been selling space, floor and kerosene heaters, kindling for starting fires and pipe wrap to help prevent pipes from freezing.
The snow also represents an opportunity to enjoy cabin fever, said Sarah Kenney, marketing director for Fresh Fields.
"We definitely see more folks before reports of a wintry mix. Folks stock up on commodity items as if they're going to be snowed in for quite some time," Ms. Kenney said. "People sometimes will buy so they can cook and bake."
In Washington, snowstorms help underscore the value of corner markets to the community, said Veronica McDonald, a spokeswoman in the office of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams.
"They save us. A lot of people aren't able to get to our major markets," Ms. McDonald said. [The corner stores are] "quick, convenient and they never run out of milk, eggs and toilet paper. There aren't major long lines when there's that major rush because of possible snow."

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