CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Local and chain hardware stores are struggling to keep up with the demand for electric generators, which have been flying out of stock since the gale force winds and rain ebbed Friday."No good, zero," Springhill Hardware co-owner Kelly Francis said of his generator stock. "I don't have any, and I can't get any supplied."Francis said the hardware store usually keeps a few generators in stock, but after this weekend's storms, customers snatched them up fast."You can't have enough when there's an emergency, and you have way too many the rest of the year," Francis said.
Richard Zegeer, the owner of Zegeer Hardware in Charleston said about 100 people called his store Saturday asking if he had generators. Zegeer only sells generators on special order, so he had to turn most of his customers away.A worker at Best Hardware in Marmet said 50 people lined up outside the store Saturday morning. The store sold its 25 generators in about five minutes, he said.Even big hardware chains like Lowe's and Home Depot can't ship enough generators to Charleston area stores."They're selling as fast as we get them," said Jeff Lassater, manager of Lowe,s in Kanawha City. "I don't know when I'm going to get more in, the truck drivers are just as backed up as we are."A Southridge Home Depot manager said that the store reached out to get emergency trucks to ship generators and other stock. About 200 people are on the backlist, but the company is hopeful that more generators will be available later in the week.Cora Boylen, who runs the LNC Loving Care Nursing Home in Poca, said AEP was able to restore power the home about 48 hours after the storm hit. Two of the home's three patients are in their 90s, and have breathing problems, she said, which forced her to use a manual respirator until the lights came back on.Boylen said efforts to locate a generator in case the power fails again have been fruitless."I was panicking, not for me but for my patients," she said. "If this ever happened again we don't know what we'd do."Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.Taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.