On Thursday, McNew Produce Co. in Henderson was trying to help its customers.
The produce distribution company serves mostly restaurants, but it wasn’t able to deliver this past week as transportation has been shut down, said one of the owners, Rodney McNew. He said they were at the business Thursday to answer the phone and help customers. The business was telling its usual customers who called that if they had a four-wheel drive and trailer they were welcome to come pick up what they needed.
“We distribute products all over everywhere,” he said. “The biggest problem is we can’t deliver anything.”
It’s not just this one business, though. McNew’s suppliers are all over the nation — Idaho for potatoes, for example, and those suppliers can’t get their products to Henderson.
“I was just having a conversation with one of our major customers, with 13 locations — the supply chain has been shut down,” he said. “People like us are not able to get product in.”
That problem will be similar to what grocery stores will face as the days of snow and ice start melting.
McNew said his firm knew the storm was coming and received a “big shipment” Feb. 13 before the winter weather arrived.
“That product is very healthy. We’ll be able to get that product out Monday,” and then he expects the first post-storm shipment the business will received will arrive Thursday for Friday delivery.
With grocery stores that were “rushed” before the icy weather arrive, he expects they’ll see similar delays.
“Those grocery stores are getting supplied by a distribution center, and that distribution center is not getting product,” he said, adding that some of the distribution centers also might have been damaged or suffered power losses. That could affect their ability to get products out.
“The supply chain is going to be backed up for at least a week...,” McNew said. “You’d be shocked when you shut everything down for a solid week, which that’s the extent of this, it takes a while to get it back into kilter.”
Walmart wouldn’t respond to specific questions about the supply chain but issued this statement:
“We are tracking the winter weather across the country in real time and have activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Walmart Home Office to support our associates in the field. In the EOC, we work directly with logistics, store operations and other teams within the business to align our support plans. ...
“We’re staying closely connected to our operators in the field to help ensure we’re stocking the appropriate items and keeping track of shipments to deliver for our customers. We have emergency support teams dedicated to helping our stores during critical events and our Merchandising, Replenishment, Supply Chain and Logistics teams are working to have critical supplies and products in store as quickly as possible.”
Brookshire Grocery Co. issued a statement this past week asking for patience from customers, as its stores were short staffed.
“As soon as road conditions are safe, our logistics team will be able to receive shipments from suppliers and send our trucks to stores,” the company reported.
McNew said the produce company isn’t panicking.
“It’s bad, but it could be a lot worse, “ he said, expressing thanks that McNew Produce never lost power.
“As a state, we don’t really know yet how bad it is,” he continued. “We know our situation, which is we’re in good shape because we’ve had power and we’ve got product here and we’re ready to go. We’ll be back on the road Monday.”