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Many hotels, businesses see surge after storm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There is no room in the inn.

Area hotels are booked and turning folks away who are requesting rooms in the wake of power outages.

"We are sold out," said Josh Gross, reservations manager of Hampton Inn at Southridge. "We've had hundreds of calls. Between yesterday and today we've turned away 255 people. We own Holiday Inn and Wingate in South Charleston. Those are sold out as well."

It's a similar story elsewhere.

Angela Harding, general manager of the Sleep Inn in Cross Lanes, said staff members have not kept track of the number of callers that have requested rooms. All 119 rooms are booked and numerous callers have been turned away.

"The phone hasn't stopped ringing," she said.

The Red Roof Inn in Hurricane was also booked up on Wednesday, according to an operator who answered the phone.

Aside from shelter, folks have been scrambling for supplies.

Many customers have headed to Cabella's at Southridge Center.

"We have lots of emergency supplies," said Matt Leary, general manager. "We've sold three or four truckloads of generators since Saturday. We've sold well over 500. Another truckload is on the way."

Aside from that, customers have been purchasing lanterns powered by oil, gas or batteries, he said. Propane heaters and propane are also popular.

"We've had a lot of people buying emergency supplies," Leary said. "We've sold big cases of bottled water."

During storms, folks also flock to grocery stores in order to stock up and have found some closed due to power outages from Foodland in Sissonville to Kroger at Ashton Place.

Shoppers found Kroger stores closed in Kanawha City and Ashton Place on Tuesday. The Kanawha City location reopened Wednesday following a power outage, a spokesman there said. Repeated calls to Ashton Place on Wednesday afternoon were met with a fast busy signal and a call to corporate headquarters was not returned. Those who drove by the store saw that it was dark and the parking lot nearly empty.

Speedway in Nitro has been busy selling gasoline as well as kerosene and propane, according to a spokeswoman who answered the phone there.

"We've been slammed," she said. "We've sold a lot of kerosene and we have no propane tanks."

However, business came to a halt about 3 p.m. Wednesday when a tractor-trailer hit a pole and knocked out power, she said. Power was restored just before 4:30 p.m. as employees scrambled to reopen.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.


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