SPINDALE, NC (WJZY) – Another major rush on toilet paper rolls has wiped out the bathing fabric in stores across the region. Now local producers are struggling to keep up with demand and make sure shelves are stocked.
“We run 24/7,” said Cardinal Tissue Owner Vince Reese. “We can not keep up with the whole demand.”
This week, WJZY found store after store sold out or almost out of toilet paper and paper towels. So we took a trip to Cardinal Tissue’s production facility, located approx. 100 km west of Charlotte, to find out why this is happening and what the industry is doing.
Reese gave us a tour of his 150,000-square-foot facility. He makes toilet paper and paper towels, and right now the business is booming.
“A kind of repetition at a faster pace of what we saw in April,” he said, describing the current shortage.
This new run on toilet paper, he believes, is linked to record increases in coronavirus cases across the country.
“You start to see things close again and people worry about being kind of contained for a period of time,” Reese said. “So they are preparing for it. And part of that preparation is to make sure they have adequate toilet paper. ”
Under a large American flag, automated machines convert 35 tons of paper into tissue product, filling six tractor trailers a day. It is shipped to regional stores and some national chains.
About 20-30 percent more product goes out now, industry-wide, to keep up with rising demand, Reese estimates. He has ordered new equipment, which he hopes will double the amount of product he can produce, showing as many as four million cases a year.
“Definitely it will help,”
While that will help, he believes the current shortage may last through the winter.
“I think it’s going to have a lot to do with the time people spend in their homes,” he said.
This time, he says, suppliers are better prepared to handle demand. Bottom line: buy only what you need.
To avoid hoarding and shelf clearance, leading to price yellowing earlier this year, retailers like Publix, Target and Harris Teeter are once again limiting how much toilet paper customers can buy.
Cleaning items are also running dry online. Amazon says it is working with manufacturers to get items like disinfectant cloths, paper towels and hand sanitizer back in stock.
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