More than an hour before the store typically opens on a Monday morning, Gander Mountain in West Manchester Township was selling thousands of dollars in Champion generators to a line of people that at times reached 20 deep.

Eager customers privy to the store's Monday-morning shipment of 350 generators started taking them out the door, many buying multiple units, by 7:30 a.m.

The looming threat of power outages from Hurricane Sandy has generators in high demand, and customers who struck out at other stores left Gander Mountain in relief after buying the $400 units.

Steve Sabaka of Hanover bought two Monday morning, saying everybody else was sold out. The two he bought could have been considered a bargain; he said he would have had to pay $800 for only one unit on eBay.

Scott Heilman of Windsor, left, and Brandon Ehrhart of Hallam wait Monday morning for the grand opening of Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar in
Scott Heilman of Windsor, left, and Brandon Ehrhart of Hallam wait Monday morning for the grand opening of Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar in Springettsbury Township. The men got in line at 11 p.m. Sunday. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

Stocking up: Around York County, hardware stores, grocery stores and others have been slammed with people preparing for the storm.

Since Thursday, Spangler's ACE hardware store, at 4072 Carlisle Road in Dover, has been flooded by customers preparing for the storm, said Ashley Spangler, the store's owner. The store got another shipment of generators over the weekend but they were all spoken for Monday morning, and the store is not expecting another shipment.

Besides generators, the store's customers were buying sump pumps and pump kits, flashlights, batteries, drainage pipes and anything else electrical and water related, Spangler said. Those items are still in stock.

Similar storm-related items were being snatched from the shelves at Home Depot at 2905 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township.

A shipment of generators available first thing Monday morning were gone within minutes, and it's not certain another shipment is coming.

"We're trying to take care of our customers," said Pamela Hamlett, an assistant store manager. "It has been absolutely busy."

The customer rush started on Friday at Lowe's home improvement store at 1175 Carlisle Road in West Manchester Township, store managers said. Like Home Depot and Spangler ACE, the Lowe's store is selling a lot of storm-related items and has run out of generators.

People were also are buying water, snowblowers, lanterns and lantern oil, Lowe's managers said.

Groceries: On the food front, local Weis and Giant grocery store are experiencing the typical milk-and-bread rush from customers.

Bob Bradshaw, store manager at Weis at 1800 Loucks Road in West Manchester Township, said the rush started about 8:30 a.m. Friday, as customers began tracking the storm.

Giant Food Stores throughout the county were selling a lot of snack foods, juice, waters, pet supplies and food, and Halloween candy, said Chris Brand, the company's spokesman.

Water sold out completely at the Food Lion at 3611 E. Market St. by Sunday morning, said Rachel Henry, manager.

By Monday morning the crowds in the grocery store were much smaller than they had been over the weekend, Henry said.

A minimal supply of bread and milk was available Monday morning thanks to deliveries from vendors, she said.

Robin Glass, 39, shopping for groceries Friday, said she may be among York Hospital staff called into work during the storm.

"So, I'm getting some (meals), snacks, drinks and water for my family so they'll have something to eat at home if I have to work," said Glass, a hospital equipment technician. "We already have flashlights and candles, so we're prepared."

Giant is prepared as well, as the company has its own generators and refrigerated trucks ready to go in case of a power outage, Brand said. The storm is more than a weather event, he added.

"It's a community event," Brand said. "In the stores, there's that electricity in the air, that something is happening with the community. We're preparing for the storm together."

- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.