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Rush on to stock up on everything from snowblowers to baked goods ahead of snowstorm

Mad dash to buy supplies ahead of pre-Christmas snowstorm
Mad dash to buy supplies ahead of pre-Christmas snowstorm 02:28

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) -- Christmas week at the grocery store is typically congested, but a menacing snowstorm set to strike before Christmas is adding to wait times.

On Tuesday night, two days ahead of the snowstorm on Thursday, the rush was on for everything from food to presents – and snowblowers, salt, and shovels.

As CBS 2's Chris Tye reported, products were being bought up as fast as they came in at Lemoi Ace Hardware, at 1008 Davis St. just west of the Davis Street Purple Line stop in Evanston.

It was to the point where inventory was depleted. There was just one snowblower left when Tye visited.

"We never run out of them, but we are officially out - except for one left," said Ethan Laine of Lemoi Ace Hardware.

On the tile floor at the hardware store, all that was left were the outlines from where the inventory of snowblowers had been sitting.

"I think people are stocking up because they feel like it's going to be crazy; hectic," Laine said.

That crazy hectic fervor also alive right next door at Bennison's Bakery, 1000 Davis St.

Margot Fournier, the manager at Bennison's Bakery, saw the consumer clock for her shoppers speed up ahead of the storm too.

"We have gotten a lot of calls, and a lot of people coming in mentioning the storm - and how they need to pick everything up right now, just so that they don't need to come in during the storm," Fournier said.

Going along with that is a consumer conundrum – will people need an assortment of cakes and cookies if the storm knocks out holiday plans?

"Just a couple of minutes ago we had a woman come in and pick up one of her orders a day early," Fournier said.  

Forty-eight hours before the snowfall, the lines at grocery stores were growing more quickly than normal Christmas weeks. And while it's rare, some shelves are bare.

Chicago hasn't had a serious blizzard in more than a decade – and a major storm this close to Christmas is even rarer. So from the bakery counter to the hardware store, consumers dropped some early green to ensure this white Christmas is a smooth one.

Some suburbs like Aurora have already opened some of their warming centers.

Evanston city and nonprofit groups are still working on some of their plans to offer more options – which is trickier, since staffing around Christmas can be hard.

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