SUPPLIES ROLLING IN: Biggenden Foodworks employees Vanessa Holmes and Lee Clausen unload a supply of toilet rolls.
SUPPLIES ROLLING IN: Biggenden Foodworks employees Vanessa Holmes and Lee Clausen unload a supply of toilet rolls.

Shelves stripped by out-of-town shoppers

A BIGGENDEN businessman has urged people to stop panic buying as customers continue to clear the shelves.

Biggenden Foodworks’ Hardev Kooner said there was no reason for people to be panic buying.

“Stop hoarding as there is enough for everyone,” Mr Kooner said.

He said out-of-town shoppers had also been travelling to the store to stock up on supplies.

Mr Kooner said the “invasion” started Monday week ago and hadn’t stopped.

“I didn’t have any other choice but to enforce limits on stock,” he said.

“I’ve also noticed couples are splitting up and shopping separately — where we detect that we will stop it.”

Some of the staples, including sugar, flour and long-life milk, has been bought up in bulk at Biggenden Foodworks.
Some of the staples, including sugar, flour and long-life milk, has been bought up in bulk at Biggenden Foodworks.

Mr Kooner said what happened in Brisbane affected the supply chain.

“This makes smaller country towns more vulnerable by opportunists,” he said.

Biggenden shoppers were anxiously waiting for a much-needed restock as the IGA truck rolled into town on Monday.

After a fortnight without toilet rolls on the shelves, the product was at the top of the shopping list for many.

Mr Kooner said the first batch of toilet paper would be sold to residents only.“They are our priority,” he said.

“The warehouse is full now with a half a million cartons of toilet rolls.

“This stock now just needs to get into the supply chain to allow the shelves to be restocked.”

This shelf at Biggenden Foodworks is normally filled with toilet rolls, hand towel and tissues.
This shelf at Biggenden Foodworks is normally filled with toilet rolls, hand towel and tissues.

Mr Kooner said there was the possibility the team would restrict the number of customers in the store at one time to 50.

“I haven’t put it into policy at this stage, but I respectfully ask people with small children to keep them home, especially when there are many elderly shoppers,” he said.

Due to the demand for fresh produce, prices have increased across the country.

Mr Kooner said he called his suppliers daily for updates.

“We are capping our prices,” he said.

“If they’re too expensive we will not stock them in the short term.

“With things changing on a daily basis, our agents are trying their best to source fresh fruit and vegetables.”

Mr Kooner said it was going to take a week or two for shelves to be fully stocked again.

“In the meantime, as a group our Foodworks catalogues have been suspended as we are only getting 30-40 per cent of our stock,” he said.

“But if in stock, the store will honour those specials.

“Customers just need to be on the lookout for the specials tags.”

On a personal note, Mr Kooner’s wife Tirath is stranded in India as her flight was cancelled.

“She’s safe with family,” he said.