Business was bustling this morning, August 26, at Emporium True Value Hardware on Main Street in Sag Harbor, as dozens of shoppers furiously scanned aisles looking for amenities to prepare for Hurricane Irene. As of 12-noon on Friday, the storm is set to hit North Carolina some time today and is currently expected to reach Long Island on Sunday.
“Yesterday was absolutely insane,” said an employee. “Yesterday and today there were about a dozen people waiting outside before we opened” at 7:45 a.m.
Signs are posted in at least three locations in the store (including the front-door window) informing customers that “D” batteries are already out of stock. And employees are continually informing inquisitive customers that, yes, they are also out of flashlights.
“We’re literally selling key-chain flashlights,” said an employee named William just moments after explaining to a customer that the lights have been sold-out. (He wished only to be referred to as by his first name.) William also said Emporium True Value has completely sold out of lanterns, lamp oil, radios and 6-volt batteries. “Those were the first to go,” he said of the 6-volts.
The store is also low on ice chests. “Someone just yesterday asked if we had coolers,” William explained. He took the customer to the back of the store where three shelves usually keep about 40 or 50 on display. He was shocked, he said, “We only had three!”