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Grocery aisles look a bit bare, but grocers say it's getting better

One supermarket owner says canned fruits, fresh produce, and lunch meat are available once again, but cream cheese, juice boxes, cat food still in short supply.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Grocery stores continue to be impacted by the supply chain shortage, but the owner of Piggly Wiggly on Devine Street in Columbia said things are looking better, compared to last year.

"The month of January has been a pretty decent recovery period," said Darrell Miller, owner of the Piggly Wiggly. 

He said the store is slowly restocking items after not being able to do so for months. 

"We still have some weak areas, but across the store, we are a lot stronger than we were," Miller said. 

He said, canned fruits, fresh produce, and lunch meat are available once again, but cream cheese, juice boxes, canned biscuits, and cat food are still in short supply.

"I will say, even those items are doing better now than they were for a while," Miller said. 

He adds, the shortage on some items are caused by supplies only making items that are most popular and in high demand, or items are not being unloaded at docks or out of containers. 

One shopper, Deanna Anderson said she travels to Piggly Wiggly instead of a closer store to her home because it's less busy, and some items are more available. Anderson explains, sometimes when she expects an item to be on the shelf, it's an empty spot. 

"We just sometimes have to switch things up for you just kind of change," Anderson said. "Change your diet. I guess that's kind of unfortunate— but, you know, our opinion is that there's still a lot of things to choose from. So it hasn't been devastating in any way."

Anderson said her family understands the supply shortage, and is staying open minded until things are back to normal. 

"I think back to the very beginning of the pandemic and we didn't know how things were gonna go," Anderson said. "I was imagining, maybe, some even worse supply chain issues so you know it could be worse, we're understanding."

Miller said suppliers say delays are getting better, and they hope it will continue to progress throughout the year.

"There's a 100% chance that we got the commodity that you need," Miller said. "What you're not going to find is perhaps that same item, or package of that commodity that you're accustomed getting."

In the meantime, he encourages shoppers to think about alternatives incase the exact brand they are looking for, isn't available.