Local pet supply store caps item purchases as sales spike

Posted at 4:10 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 21:11:17-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Shoppers have cleared grocery store aisles in their efforts to prepare in the event they needed to hunker down due to the novel coronavirus. Supermarkets struggled to keep up their shelves stocked as demand soared, and many announced they would be capping the number of essential items customers could buy in one trip.

Bluegrass Barkery is among many pet supply stores that followed the store initiatives in limiting certain items. Clayton Harvey, the store’s owner, said they were hoping things didn’t reach that point, but they were struggling to keep pet food on the shelves.

“If I have 20 bags and each person buys five, then four people have bought all the food,” Harvey explained.

Harvey said the policy change came after their suppliers capped order sizes.

“The trucks simply didn’t have the space on them to add more goods,” he said.

Harvey said he’s concerned if they aren’t able to restock at a steady rate, then some customers who, for example, depend on special food for their pets with illnesses may not have those available for weeks or months at a time.

“If you take being out of maybe one random product for a week versus having multiple products that we can't get our hands on for an extended period of time, that's where it starts to concern people,” he said.

Additionally, he said the spike in sales is welcome as a short-term benefit, however could be detrimental to small business owners in the long run.

“Rather than having your sales stretched out over a period of time, you’ve got one lump sum and then a lot of time where we’re going to be worried that you’re just not going to see the volume or traffic of people you typically would,” he said. “That’s where it gets so crucial for a small business when you’re talking about cash flow and the ability to continue to operate.”

Bluegrass Barkery is also offering curbside pickup for customers who are shopping for their pets and hoping to limit interaction with others. It’s one of several changes implemented by business.

“There’s no hindsight is 20-20 in this case where we can look back to,” said Harvey. “A lot of it is simply trying to make adjustments as needed, where we feel they’re needed. It’s not to cause anybody stress, but simply to make sure that families that have animals that need those products have an opportunity to get those as well.