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Shoppers stock up as storm approaches
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Shoppers fill Publix supermarket Wednesday morning on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville with many getting the jump on the frosty weather moving into the area.

A quick drive on Wednesday morning down Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville revealed just how seriously local residents were taking the prospect of a major snowstorm bearing down on the region.

With several inches of powder forecast across Hall County, traffic backed up along the residential and commercial corridor as the storm approached, with motorists pulling in and out of grocery stores one after the other.

“It’s the busiest I’ve seen Ingles in a while,” said Ann Fultz as she pushed her grocery cart full of food and supplies to her car.

The parents of Blake Sims, the former Gainesville High and University of Alabama football star, pulled up as overcast skies slightly darkened, promising the snow’s arrival.  

Sims’ father, Sonny, said he was picking up a few items in anticipation of his son arriving home to Gainesville from the National Football League combine tryouts in Indianapolis.

For many residents, the impending snowstorm was a reminder of last week’s ice crunch, which tore down trees and knocked out power to tens of thousands.

While those same troubles are less likely with snow, Cooper Embry said he wasn’t taking any chances.

With firewood and dog food stacked in his grocery cart, Embry left Publix in good cheer, ready to wait out the storm.

Meanwhile, Brandy Tanner walked out of Kroger with bags of food, drinks and supplies.

Tanner said she was mostly shopping for an elderly woman she cares for, hoping to get everything she needed before the snow began falling.

Sallie Owings said she had enough of winter weather and was hoping the storm would not be as significant as predicted.

But she didn’t want to go home without some of her favorite foods, including yogurt and bananas, in the event she gets shut in for a day or two by the storm.

Shoppers cleared shelves of staples, such as milk and bread, and there were plenty of snacks and treats to go along.

“Can’t go without my coffee,” said one man as he exited Kroger.

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