Daily News Staff Writer Erin Franczak visited three area stores to see what was sold out due to the coronavirus scare.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Fears of COVID-19 have locals buying groceries in bulk, so Daily News Reporter Erin Franczak visited three area stores to find the most bought-out products.



She started her grocery store tour at Winn-Dixie on Eglin Parkway, where some shelves were picked over, and others looked almost untouched. Arriving at the second store, Walmart, around noon, she noticed the parking lot was almost completely full. Lastly, she checked out the Daily News go-to store, Family Dollar, which is right across the street.


Thursday evening, fellow writer Savannah Evanoff headed to Publix at Eglin Parkway and Racetrack, where the coronavirus shopping trends continued.


Here’s what you won’t find enough of in local stores.


1. Hand sanitizer


It is no surprise that hand sanitizer was impossible to find. Searching four different stores, I struggled to find even a trace of the liquid-germ protection. Soap was still available in all three stores. ( Make your own hand sanitizer. )


2. Other sanitizing products


Hydrogen peroxide, bleach and other cleaning products were in short supply everywhere. Shelves that had been filled with Clorox wipes and other disinfectants were nearly empty. Your best bet? Check out the smaller stores where fewer people shop on a daily basis. ( Clean your iPhone with alcohol and Clorox wipes. )


3. Toilet paper


The rumors are true. Toilet paper was almost completely gone at Walmart and pretty difficult to find at the other stores. Picture one of Walmart’s long aisles, with some shelves completely empty. You’ll be hard pressed to find that critical bathroom supply anywhere right now. ( This family accidentally bought a 12-year supply of toilet paper. )


4. Pop-Tarts, cereal and peanut butter


Peanut butter was one that surprised the Daily News team, but maybe it’s always a popular item. Pop Tarts were conspicuously picked over and cereal aisles were a bit depleted, too. ( Or you could have a pie, in honor of Friday’s National Pi Day. )


5. Water


In preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, local shoppers are obviously worried water will be in short supply. While there were still jugs and flats of smaller bottles on the shelves, shoppers have clearly been taking home a few extra. ( Retailers are saying bottled water sales are outpacing hurricane prep. )