WILLIAMSTON — A North Carolina company is making sure residents can easily buy chicken during the coronavirus shutdown.
House of Raeford, headquartered in Rose Hill, is sending trucks throughout eastern N.C. and S.C. loaded with chicken for sale in bulk. Stay-at-Home orders caused consumers to stock their homes with more meat than normal, likely due to more home cooking and fears of supply interruptions. While consumer demand has increased, demand from restaurants and other commercial foodservice industries has dwindled as Governor Cooper ordered schools and many restaurants to close.
House of Raeford got creative by bringing refrigerated trailers to certain locations to sell directly to consumers who might be having trouble finding chicken on the shelves of their local grocery.
The sales started in early April with a single plant participating but quickly expanded to six of the company’s seven plants. “We are averaging 7 – 10 sale locations per day,” said Dave Witter, communications manager for House of Raeford. “It will go on as long as we think it is benefitting the public as well as our company.”
The trucks bring bulk packages of chicken, including boneless breasts, thighs, tenders, wings and legs. Buyers never leave their car at the sales.
“I found out about the chicken sale on Facebook,” said Karen Hardison of Robersonville. She attended a House of Raeford sale last week at the Bob Martin Ag Center in Williamston in Martin County.
“It was very well run. They had cones and signs set up and it ran smoothly,” said Hardison. “We bought several boxes and shared with our neighbors.”
Hardison said she arrived early because she knew there would be a crowd. “We got in line early and there were at least 100 cars in line behind us.” She said that meats had been hard to come by in Martin County but that the price, as much as the availability, was her reason for going to the sale. “Boneless, skinless chicken for a dollar a pound is a good deal.”
Availability and price are dual motivations for House of Raeford. “We know it has been difficult in recent weeks to not only find, but also in some cases afford, certain food products,” said a statement on the company’s web site. “We hope this opportunity will be helpful to families as our nation continues to face a challenge over the next several weeks.”