Philly residents rush out for 11th hour Sandy prep

    Some Philly residents were still scrambling Monday morning to get ready for the storm.

    Like many rushing out of Walmart at midday Monday, Jamal Cole was late to start taking Hurricane Sandy seriously.

    “I didn’t think it was gonna be this bad,” said Cole. “I laid in the house yesterday like ‘it ain’t gonna be too bad,’ but now I’m seeing today it’s getting there.”

     Loading his car to head back to his house in West Philly, Cole was confident he and his girlfriend were ready to weather the storm.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    “We got batteries, we got flashlights, and we got a lot of love so we’ll see what happens.”

    Brothers James and Terry Shin rent an apartment in Center City. If they manage to stay connected to the power grid, they’ll have no problem passing time playing video games. Otherwise, “I don’t know, sleep I guess,” they echoed.

    Northern liberties’ Sarah Bruno’s plan was a bit more shored up: “Read, play games, drink,” Bruno said, laughing. “Do what any other normal 31 year old would do I guess.”

    From Mega-Marts to Corner Stores

    A little farther up the river, residents of Kensington faced the prospect of prepping for Sandy by stocking up on only what they could carry from their neighborhood corner stores.

    As a father of five, Jamie Colon knows the tricks when it comes to emergency shopping.

    “Canned milk, cause if you get gallon milk and the power goes out, you’re milk goes bad.”

    In a corner shop near his house at Frankford and Cambria, he worried many in his neighborhood weren’t ready to face the realities of a major storm.

    “You know the economy, the way things are, you never think this is gonna happen so, you just ‘spend, spend, spending’ and when time like this comes you ain’t got no money,” said Colon. “You know so, unfortunately some people ain’t prepared.”

    But enough are preparing to make some businesses boom. Yeon Kang is the owner of A&J Food Market on Frankford Avenue.

    “Today’s a little busy. We’re almost out of spring water and then bread,” said Kang. “Last minute for everybody who wants to prepare the food and something.”

    But as many small business owners know, one day’s reward is the next day’s risk. Kang worried about what power outages could mean for her inventory.

    “We have a lot of freezers in the store. Soda case and a frozen case, ice cream case,” said Kang. “(Last time) the power went out, we all lost the merchandise, so I hope not that happen.”

    Not everyone on the avenue seemed to have think they had that much to lose. Battling the rain with a large black umbrella, Michael Francis said he hadn’t thought much of preparations. “Not at all, no.”

    He does have some food and water but, “I gotta get some beer, you know?”

    The worst of the storm is expected to hit Philadelphia from Monday evening to early Tuesday morning.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal