Supplies of cold-weather goods run low

Crowds flooded area home-improvement stores on Tuesday and Wednesday, scavenging for generators, snow shovels and anything that could help during an ice storm.

But by Wednesday, most stores were sold out.

The crowds prompted the Home Depot on Richmond Road in Lexington to stay open overnight both Tuesday and Wednesday.

A shipment of at least 200 generators was delayed Wednesday, store employee Amanda Baber said, when the truck became stuck in Indiana. The store hoped that shipment and another would arrive overnight.

All of Central Kentucky's Lowe's stores also were out of heaters, salt, shovels and, of course, generators. The company planned to ship more generators to its Richmond store because of the number of outages in Madison County. (Other stores were to pick up their allotments there.) But that shipment didn't arrive on time, either.

"It's been terrible, and the phone calls have been outrageous," said Jackie Campbell, an operator at the Lowe's off Nicholasville Road. "Every minute or two, the phone rings with people wanting generators, and we're just totally, totally out of them."

The Home Depot on Richmond Road expects a pallet of salt to arrive by Thursday morning and has a request in for more heaters to be shipped, Baber said.

And it was a record day Tuesday and likely again Wednesday for Mad Mushroom Pizza, which has operated near the University of Kentucky for 15 years.

Owner Steve Hart said some of his staffers had to help push stuck delivery cars, but at least tips are running about double.

Business also is booming for area hotels, which saw residents without power swarming for a place to stay.

The Lexington Downtown Hotel, formerly the Radisson, sold out about 3 p.m., said sales and marketing director Angela Matherne. Normal January occupancy is 40 percent.

The hotel offered rooms for $99, about $60 off the regular rate, and gave deeper discounts to cancer patients from the American Cancer Society who took 20 rooms, as well as to a dozen nursing home patients from Danville.

"I came from New Orleans, and we had hurricane rooms all the time," Matherne said. "This is just like that."