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Local grocery stores prepare for Super Bowl rush

Feb. 10—As people prepare for big gatherings filled with food and drinks, local stores are making sure these gatherings will be well-stocked.

Two locally-owned stores have been preparing for weeks, adding personnel and decorating the stores to make things more accessible. Jeff Heitman, co-owner of Green Hills grocery stores, said between decorations, food and drinks, the Super Bowl demand compares to big holidays like Thanksgiving.

"It's big for our community," Heitman said. "It brings family and friends together very much like Thanksgiving."

According to the National Retail Federation, Super Bowl week spending could top $17 billion this year nationwide. Debbie Kempf, manager of Price Chopper, said that many hours of preparation have gone into a busy week that brings the community together.

"It's family and friends getting together," Kempf said. "It's much like Thanksgiving but with a different theme, maybe, but it is all about family and friends gathering together."

Both stores have placed popular selling items toward the front of the store to make it more convenient for customers. According to Heitman, that means salty snacks, soft drinks and dip. For both stores, deli and meat department favorites like chicken wings and burgers, are also selling fast.

Stores have also added special displays by beer companies to meet the demand. Marketing firm Movendi International estimates that over $1.5 billion will be spent on beer alone during the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.

For both stores, the fact that the local team favorite Kansas City Chiefs is involved adds not only to revenue, but also to the sense of community. The store managers said that when customers shop locally for events like the Super Bowl, they feel that the hard work that goes into preparing for the rush contributes to bringing the community closer together.

"To come into their home with our snacks and everything we've prepared for the game for them to have ready to go: we enjoy being a part of that," Price Chopper manager Debbie Kempf said. Heitman at Green Hills echoed her sentiments.

"It's big for our community," Heitman said. "I think it brings family and friends together, and it's just a great, great time."

Charles Christian anchors the evening news for News-Press NOW and also serves as an ordained minister at United Methodist Churches in Union Star and Helena, Missouri. Charles can be reached at charles.christian@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowChristian.