Grocery stores cash registers ring before Thanksgiving

TUPELO – For retailers, Black Friday can’t come soon enough. For grocers, their day is today.
In fact, their busy selling season started Monday with shoppers filling their baskets in order to cook, roast, fry and bake their Thanksgiving spreads.
“It’s our food week,” said Sam Mitchell, owner of Mitchell’s Supermarket in Guntown. “We have one day that’s our biggest food day of the year, and that’s today, the day before Thanksgiving.”
Mitchell was putting green beans and other canned vegetables on aisle two at his store Tuesday, while other employees were rolling out merchandise to keep the shelves full.
Other grocery stores have stayed busy, too, despite the economic uncertainty that still lingers.
It’s Thanksgiving, and people aren’t scrimping when it comes to laying out a holiday feast.
For example, there was Billie Rogers at Palmer’s Supermarket in Tupelo on Tuesday, getting a turkey, ham, vegetables and the ingredients for her popular “Coke salad” that include the soft drink, cream cheese, cherries, pecans and other yummy morsels.
“I’m going to feed a small army of 12 to 14 people,” Rogers said. “But I have my daughters helping me.”
Tee Pomrenke was at Todd’s Big Star in Tupelo, hunting for her ham and turkey “and you name it” to feed 12 on Thursday.
Todd’s manager, Clay Knight, said his deli was as busy as ever taking orders to smoke Thanksgiving turkeys and hams.
“A couple of years ago we smoked 250 and that was too much,” he said. “I didn’t want to have to stay til midnight every night, so we purposely cut back.”
But Knight still has about 200 orders that have kept him busy.
At the Piggly Wiggly in Saltillo, store manager Don Turner said customers have been buying traditional Thanksgiving fare, with a slight twist.
“We’ve actually sold more ham than turkeys so far,” he said.
And customers also are buying veal, prime rib, round roast and pork loin.
“Maybe it’s for game day,” Turner said with a shrug.
Also popular at some grocery stores are Thanksgiving meals already prepared. Todd’s and Piggly Wiggly, for example, are baking turkeys and hams to order, as well as making pans of dressing and other side dishes, plus desserts for families on the go. Or for families who want somebody else to do the cooking.
Todd’s and Piggly Wiggly also will be open for Thanksgiving and have Thanksgiving plates available, too.
But for some customers, there’s nothing like being in their own kitchens, and grocers don’t mind the busy, busy day they’ll be having today.
“We won’t be left with much of anything after today, I don’t think,” Mitchell said with a laugh.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal