news 3 days ago

Entrepreneurs fill shopping void in wake of pandemic

Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa. — Renatta Signorini Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

March 26-- Mar. 26--Eric Fulton's plans of opening a deli in Scottdale were quickly dashed when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Now he's the unexpected proprietor of a small Pittsburgh Street store selling toilet paper, bread, cleaning supplies and produce. Members of borough council and Mayor Chuck King recently helped Fulton clear out tools he was using for renovations and, within 24 hours, he was ready to go Monday.

"There was a need," said Don Stansak, council president. "People are on Facebook (saying) they couldn't get certain things."

Businesses and restaurants around the area are stocking up on items they don't normally sell in an effort to help communities where some may have issues getting to a grocer or other store. Shelves at some grocery stores have been bare of milk, cleaning supplies, toilet paper and other items. Local shops are trying to fill the gaps.

At Sam's Pop and Beer Shop in Arnold, customers could grab a roll of toilet paper with their order as long as it lasted, owner Terry Madden said. He was trying to replenish his stock on Wednesday after they quickly sold out.

Madden said transportation can be an issue for some Arnold residents, so he decided to bring some essentials to them.

"We have a lot of foot traffic," he said. "I love the community, so anything I can do to help them."

Essentials such as eggs, pasta and milk were also on the menu at Wish's Bar in Scottdale. Owner Jeff Wishart said he got the items from his supplier and the prices are low because he doesn't intend to make a profit on them. He just wants to get food out into the community.

In Scottdale -- a community of about 4,100 -- making those types of items available is important, Stansak and Fulton agreed. Transportation can be an issue for some, and while there are Dollar General and Rite Aid stores in town, the closest grocery store requires a car trip.

"There's no fruits and vegetables ... in this town that you can purchase," Fulton said.

He stocked the shelves after opening Monday with more supplies and a cooler on the way. The store is in the same building as The Vapor Den.

"We have a lot of people that really don't have vehicles, they're trying to do what they need in town by walking," Stansak said. "I'm beaming because of everything that everybody's stepped up to do."

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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