PARKERSBURG - As work continued Sunday to restore power and clean up trash and debris from Friday's storm, some sections of the Mid-Ohio Valley were returning to a sense of normality with businesses open and serving customers.
Among the areas that saw business-as-somewhat-normal on Sunday were the Division-Blizzard-Pike corridor in south Parkersburg which included Kmart, Krogers, Foodland and Wal-Mart - and along Grand Central Avenue in Vienna, including the Grand Central Mall and Vienna Wal-Mart. The Vienna Kmart Plaza was still without power on Sunday afternoon.
Debbie Havens, assistant manager at the Kmart in south Parkersburg, said the store was without power Friday night and Saturday but was able to reopen for business at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Foodland stores in Vienna and south Parkersburg were able to reopen during the weekend. Owner Jim Oppe said the stores were able to supply most of their customers’ needs, although ice was in very short supply throughout the weekend. (Photos by Wayne Towner)
"We've been very busy," Havens said Sunday afternoon. "A lot of people are coming in looking for ice chests, generators anything because there's a lot of people that are still without power."
The Kmart was also selling a lot of pantry food from its shelves, she said. The Marietta store was open Sunday but the Vienna location was still closed, Havens said.
Despite all of the problems and issues, Havens said customers were patient and courteous throughout the day.
We have a lot of very, very courteous customers and they have been through the day," she said.
Among the shoppers Sunday at Kmart were Mike and Patty Mills of Parkersburg. The couple lives in the north end and traveled to the south Parkersburg Kmart to shop for some supplies.
Mike Mills said the couple went out of town Saturday, so they missed much of the mess. They did work to help his elderly parents to make sure they were comfortable and were taken care of. They returned early Sunday morning.
"Around our neighborhood, we've got a lot of trees and tree limbs down, so we've got a little bit of a mess to clean up," he said.
Mills said they were in good shape at home in terms of essential supplies and visited Kmart to take advantage of some of the normal weekly specials and get some things for the Fourth of July celebration, which he is hoping can still go forward for many this week as the cleanup continues.
Carol Tice, of south Parkersburg, said the weekend was pretty hectic for her house near Southwood Park pool, but saw her power restored late Friday evening.
"We have a lot of debris and things in the yard... but everything is getting cleaned up pretty well," she said, adding she got some groceries and cleaning supplies at the open businesses in south Parkersburg.
People have been very considerate," Tice said.
Anita Hussey, of Washington, W.Va., said she was traveling Friday through Charleston on her way home when the storm hit. Soon after arriving back, the Washington-Lubeck area saw its power restored and Hussey said the weekend had not been too bad for her with nearby businesses open and serving customers.
"There are no downed trees, but we have a lot of limbs on the property... we're very, very lucky," Hussey said.
Foodland owner Jim Oppe was at his Gihon Plaza store in south Parkersburg on Sunday afternoon. Oppe said the Vienna store was open most of the weekend, despite the general outage in Vienna, and the Gihon store opened Saturday afternoon.
The Foodland stores on Emerson Avenue and Plum Street were still closed Sunday afternoon, but Oppe had refrigerator trucks at both locations, which were preserving most of the perishable items at each location. He said once power was restored, it would take a couple hours work and each could then reopen.
Oppe said he was able to get a couple of deliveries and has been able to stay supplied with nearly all of the necessities people want, including bread, milk and water. The primary shortage has been ice, with both locations selling out quickly. He got an unexpected delivery of ice at the Vienna store on Saturday and said 15 pounds of ice sold out in two hours.
"It's tough," Oppe said of the past weekend. "It's tough for the people.
"People are great," he said. "Everybody understands. You go by the gas stations and they're all lined up and folks are just taking their time. I think for the most part it's one of those things that we all take in stride. I think everyone learned a little bit about being more prepared from now on," Oppe said.