A sign on the Hannaford supermarket in Bangor’s Broadway Shopping Plaza, the only business operating there Tuesday, reflected the impact of the record statewide power outages.
“We are open. We are unable to sell frozen or refrigerated items at this time due to the power outage. Thank you for your understanding.”
The store, and another in Old Town, were among the half dozen of Hannaford’s 60 supermarkets in Maine running on backup generators, yet staying open after the storm, spokesman Eric Blom said. The generators kept some lights on as well as registers to process credit and debit transactions.
“We’ve put products that would otherwise spoil in refrigerated trucks at the stores [with generators],” Blom said.
The company wasn’t as lucky during a November 2014 snowstorm, when that same store and three others lost power and a lot of food spoiled. But for this storm, Hannaford quickly moved in backup generators and refrigerated trucks, Blom said. The company still expects some spoilage and loss.
Hannaford has an inventory process called a “forceout” that overrides the normal amounts of produce, meats and food products ordered and boosts the number of batteries, water, bread and other necessities in the event of bad weather.
“The variety might not be there,” Blom said. “Demand is high for bottled water so there may not be as many sizes as usual.”
At the Broadway store in Bangor, warm beer could be purchased, but not refrigerated cheeses and dips, a Bangor Daily News reporter visiting the store found. Much of the produce was covered or removed from shelves and yellow tape blocked the frozen food and dairy sections.
Blom said the number of stores with generators is a moving target as power is restored.
Shaw’s spokeswoman Teresa Edington said nine of that supermarket chain’s 21 Maine locations experienced various degrees of power outages, but none closed due to the storm.
Emera Maine, the power utility in eastern and northern Maine, details a process for how power is restored on its website, with hospitals among those at the top of the list, before regular businesses like supermarkets.
The Hannaford in Bridgton, for example, benefitted from sharing the same part of the power grid as Bridgton Hospital, an employee said. Power at the supermarket was out only briefly Monday morning.
BDN reporter Judy Harrison contributed to this story.
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