“I had one customer spend $8,000,” said Joe Gurrera, founder of upscale
supermarket chain Citarella. “You know when you see someone with a full
shopping cart? Now they have five.”
The well-heeled shoppers are buying “pretty much everything they
can,” said Gurrera, whose stores are known for carrying gourmet goods.
“Instead of asking for one or two steaks on a tray, a customer will buy
the whole tray. Then they’ll move on to shrimp, and buy all the shrimp,
and then they’ll buy all the salmon steaks.”
Once they’re done demolishing the meat and fish section, they move on
to the prepared foods, Gurrera said. “Instead of asking for a slice of
lasagna, they’ll buy all of it. Then they’ll buy all of our root
vegetables,” he added.
“Business is insane. We are doing far more business than in July and
August,” said Gurrera, who has four stores in Manhattan, three in the
Hamptons and one in Greenwich, Connecticut. “People are spending
thousands of dollars at a time.”
Hamptons liquor stores also are making bank. At Wainscott Main Wine
& Spirits near East Hampton, business was up 500 percent last
Friday, to $12,000, compared with the same day last year, said owner
Joel Kaye. Freaked-out customers are spending $400 to $2,000 at a time,
instead of the normal $75, he said.
“Our clients are stocking up their wine cellars, buying things like
eight bottles of a good $200 Napa burgundy, instead of one bottle,” Kaye
said, adding that he even sold a $325 bottle of hard-to-get Chablis.
“It feels like the Fourth of July,” added store manager Luis Marin.
“We’re having fun and trying to stay open as much as we are allowed to.
Our summer people are here and stocking up while they self-quarantine.”
As The Post reported Monday,
people escaping to the Hamptons had been going out to eat in droves
until the area’s first coronavirus case was confirmed on March 12 —
sending people running for shelter.
Philanthropist and socialite Jean Shafiroff is accustomed to dining
out on a nightly basis. But in the face of the coronavirus, she has
taken the unfamiliar step of cooking for her husband, daughter and her
daughter’s boyfriend. And it’s not been cheap.
“I’m spending $300 to $1,000 a day on food and supplies,” she said.
The money goes toward chicken and salmon steaks, some of which she
freezes, as well as for cleaning supplies and food for her dogs.
“I even bought the drugstore out of all its dental floss. I wanted to
make sure I had enough, along with extra toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste
and body lotions,” she said. “If I have to be quarantined, I better
Shafiroff also is buying canned goods like the rest of America, but
only out of an abundance of caution. “I can donate them later,” she said
of the items like Progresso chicken noodle soup and Del Monte peas and
carrots — brands “I had never heard of before.”
The stockpiling also has meant buying an extra freezer to store the
goodies, as well as extra pots and pans for cooking, the philanthropist
She still goes to the beauty parlor often, including a recent trip to get her eyelashes done, but now dons a face mask.
“If I look bad, I will be depressed, even if I am just staying at
home,” she explained. And on Monday, she also made a trip back to
Manhattan — with a friend and her driver — to pick up “more clothes and
the mail,” and a “big giant jar of Le Mer face cream.”
The sheltering experiment has already led to memorable family
moments, like the night her daughter’s boyfriend, who is from Texas,
made chili. It was such a departure from her normal life of fancy gowns
and charity galas that she posted a pic of the stew online.
“It’s on my Instagram,” she said.