You asked: Food Lion among businesses affected by Thursday’s outage

Published 12:23 pm Saturday, February 2, 2013

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You asked: How much did Route 58 businesses in Courtland lose due to Thursday’s 20-hour power outage?

COURTLAND—The Food Lion stood to lose the most from Thursday’s nearly 20-hour outage that left 2,500 in Southampton County without power.

A manager at the Southampton Parkway grocery store referred questions to corporate headquarters in Salisbury, N.C.

“While we don’t comment on product loss, food safety for our customers is our company’s top priority,” Food Lion spokesman Benny Smith said Friday.

Elaine Lidholm, director of communications for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Richmond, confirmed that an inspector visited the store on Thursday. The Food Lion remained closed for the day and reopened Friday.

“We have guidelines and regulations that stores are aware of,” Lidholm said. “We go in and see how they manage the outage and make sure they have destroyed the compromised food.”

Normally, if an outage lasts 24 hours, the perishable food would be considered spoiled, unless the store took preventive measures.

“The stores know what to do to be in compliance with our guidelines,” she said.

Frozen foods, especially when packed tightly, can last longer, assuming the freezer doors are not opened.

“At this time of the year, a store without power will be pretty cool,” Lidholm said.

The Sunoco convenience store across the road from Food Lion didn’t lose anything from the outage caused after a wind gust blew a tree onto a circuit, thus blowing a transformer at Watkins Corners near Franklin.

“As long as you keep the doors closed, everything stayed cold,” said Manager Lucy Williams.

The store never opened on Thursday because power was lost at 2 a.m. Williams expects they did lose business from 100 to 150 potential customers.

At the Palm Tree Inn on Southampton Parkway outside Courtland, it was business as usual. Most of the 48-room motel’s guests during the week are contractors working in the area, said employee Sheri Watson. The outage didn’t cause them to leave.