Toilet paper, other essential items on the menu at local diner

Posted at 6:06 PM, Apr 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 07:32:39-04

GLOUCESTER, Va. -- You will not find pancakes or waffles coming out of Eggheads Diner right now. Instead, Amber Cooper, the diner's owner, put toilet paper, paper towels, sanitizing products and other products that are now hard to find at stores.

Cooper said she noticed it is harder to find these products in this rural section of Gloucester.

"They must be having more of a problem in Gloucester, I think, because there are not as many grocery stores here," Cooper told News 3. "When I've gone to the grocery store in Hampton, I've not had anywhere near as much trouble."

The diner is not selling food because of the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus. Instead, the diner started selling these products in response to the panic shopping due to the pandemic. The products come from commercial shipments the diner receives.

Cooper said people arrived in their cars and also lined up, while maintaining social distance, outside the diner before it opened at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.

"This is what we want to do, like this is part of our home. That's how we feel here," Cooper said. "Normally I would have hugged almost everybody who's walked in here, we can't do that."

The sale ended at noon and by then, bottles of bleach and a few rolls of paper towels remained. A few tables, Cooper said, had products placed on top. All that remained were empty boxes.

Lori Shinn, a regular customer at the diner, was one of those who attended. She explained the struggle of trying to find some of those products at stores.

"It's been hard," Shinn said. "It wasn't too bad at the beginning when it started."

She bought paper towels, toilet paper, and a box of gloves. Shinn added that it was not only for her, but also for her mother.

"My mom is like, 'Oh you run in dollar stores or something, real quick," Shinn said with jest. "I'm like, I'm not risking it.'"

As for Cooper, she said she hopes to reopen for food service soon, but will continue selling essential products as long as the pandemic continues, and as long as she gets shipments. She said the days and items available can vary and urges people to check the Eggheads Diner's Facebook page for the latest updates.

"It was good to see people too," Cooper said, "because we miss our customers, you know?"