Middlebury Discount Beverage Owner Joe Cotroneo heard something unusual from a customer on Tuesday at noon.
“I was going to sit down and do paperwork when one kid came in,” Cotroneo said. “He said, ‘You’re going to get slammed, the College is ending classes.’”
He was right.
In the immediate wake of the college’s announcement that it was transitioning to remote learning after an extended March break following Covid-19 concerns, Discount Beverage saw customer sales increase to 50–60% higher than normal, according to store management.
“It was insane for two hours straight,” Cotroneo said. “There was a line all the way back to the cooler.”
Within the two hours after the college announced the scheduling changes, Cotroneo said he sold out of 30-count packages of Keystone Light Lager Beer, which is heavily stocked at the store. Cotroneo also sold a handful of kegs, and said that packages of White Claw Hard Seltzer were also popular. “I’ve been working a lot on Friday and Saturday nights, and it felt like that, but it’s a Tuesday at 1 p.m.”
Cotroneo, originally from the New York area, said he has never seen a sales spike like this in the 19 years he’s been in charge of the store.
“I can’t remember anything like this, nothing like a light switch,” he said.
The Campus also reached out to Hannaford’s Liquor Store about liquor sales, but they could not be reached for an interview.