Customers Rush For Groceries and Gas Ahead Of Eclipse

Here in the Midlands some residents are wasting no time - filling up on gas before the crowds fill Columbia. They've also stocked up on groceries.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Time is ticking before out-of-town visitors pour into Columbia and some residents are stocking up on gas and groceries to avoid the added traffic.

"We get everybody. We don't just get (people) for a certain event. Everybody is coming through and a lot of times when people come in they don't know what's going on, so they might run into a situation and that's what we're preparing for staff-wise this weekend," Richard Horton said.

Richard Horton is the Assistant General Manager for the Petro Shopping Store on South Beltline Blvd. He said he hasn't met many out-of-town visitors yet, but he has seen customers who want to beat the crowd. Terrence Johnson was filling up on gas when we pulled up.

"I just want to be sure that I get some (gas) now before everyone else takes up the gas can. A whole lot (of people) are coming in as I speak on I-20 and I-77. They're all coming in. I've got my camera and my filters all ready and set up to take the shot," Johnson said.

Gas stations aren't the only businesses seeing visitors. Darrell Miller owns the Piggly Wiggly on Devine Street and says his grocery store has been steady all day.

"They're loading up on snack items, chips and water, and soft drinks and Gatorade. Anything that's cold and wet," Miller said.

Thomas Ballou and his wife came all the way from Massachusetts and were picking up a few items from the Piggly Wiggly.

"(We) got up at 2:30 in the morning to come down here. It's just an event that I've always wanted to see and it was a chance to go see it. I'm originally from Missouri, so I was going to go through Missouri, but I decided that I'd like to see South Carolina," Ballou said. "I've been in a 70 percent eclipse back when I was in high school and it's a really interesting event and totality just sounds really exciting."

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