Storm leaves distributors, restaurants powerless
The powerful thunderstorms that rocked Virginia, Maryland and other mid-Atlantic states over the weekend are taking their toll on the region’s seafood industry.
An estimated 2 million homes and businesses along the U.S. East Coast were still without power as of late Monday, after hurricane-force winds uprooted trees and knocked over power lines Friday evening. Despite 100-degree temperatures in the Northeast, many homes are not expected to have power restored until this Friday.
“Some of the largest volume restaurants in Virginia, Baltimore and other areas of Maryland have been without power for three days. They threw all their food away,” said Tim Sughrue, executive VP of Jessup, Md., distributor Congressional Seafood. While some of Congressional’s foodservice customers had power restored on Monday, other homes and businesses are not expected to have power restored until Thursday or Friday.
As a result, Congressional lost around 25 percent of its sales on Saturday, and sales were down 20 percent on Monday.
Supermarket chain Giant Food of Landover, Md., was able to keep all of its 173 stores open throughout the storm, even though a number of stores lost power, according to spokesperson Jamie Miller. The stores have been operating on back-up generators.
“We did have some product loss at the stores without electricity. We are assessing the damage right now,” said Miller.
Giant Food is still able to get deliveries to its stores, and executives expect all stores to be “fully stocked” in the next few days, added Miller.
Like Congressional Seafood, distributor J.J. McDonnell in Jessup, Md., had several restaurant customers that lost power and perishables over the weekend.
“Some restaurants were interested in renting refrigerated space from us. We made a decision not to do that, because of the forecast of more storms,” said Rob Jacobson, an account manager for J.J. McDonnell.
While a few orders had to be returned over the weekend, distributor NAFCO in Jessup, Md., doesn’t anticipate major losses because of the storm.
“Customers are re-upping orders because of the holiday coming up. It is tourist season here in Washington, Virginia and Maryland,” said Stanley Pearlman, owner of NAFCO.
Still, distributors may have issues delivering to some restaurants and retail outlets because of downed trees and power lines, added Pearlman.